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Divorce is always challenging, but for farming families it can be particularly difficult to sort out as the future of the family business will need to be considered.
Farms and agricultural businesses are often theoretically high in value, but that value is locked up in land and other assets. Making a fair divorce settlement can be hard, therefore, as that value will likely need to be reflected in the settlement even though you don’t have easy access to the capital.
Whether you are a farmer looking to protect your business during divorce or are getting divorced from a farmer and want to make sure you get a fair settlement, having expert legal advice is essential.
Our team have many years of experience advising farming families on divorce and separation, including on the making of financial settlements. We can guide you through the various options, including giving one partner a greater share of other assets or a continuing financial interest in the business – whatever best matches your circumstances and needs.
Wherever possible, we will try to help you achieve a settlement through negotiation and non-confrontational methods, such as mediation. This can allow you to get a settlement faster, with lower legal costs and much less stress. However, where court proceedings are required, we will make sure you have the very best representation every step of the way.
For expert help with divorce for farming families, you can arrange an initial face-to-face consultation or, alternatively, a telephone or video conference call with one of our specialist legal advisors.
Having advised members of the agricultural community for many years on both business and personal matters, our team are especially well placed to assist with divorce matters for farming families.
Our team have achieved the top tier 1 ranking for our expertise in Agriculture & Estates from the prestigious Legal 500 client guide for the East Midlands. We are also highly ranked by the Legal 500 for our Family law expertise, with particular notice for our handling of farming-related family law cases.
This dual expertise means we can help you achieve the best outcome for you, your loved ones and your family business.
We can assist you with reaching a financial settlement that is fair for both parties without having a negative impact on your business. This includes making sure the needs of both parties and any children are met while avoiding the need to sell or breakup the family business wherever possible.
We can advise you on your options for protecting your farming business during divorce and separation. This includes where ownership of the business is split between various members of your family or the business is held in a trust, which can make matters more complicated. We can also advise on tax considerations, farm business structures and other factors that may need to be considered.
When getting divorced, it is usually a good idea to make a new Will to ensure your wishes will be accurately reflected should you pass away. We can help with drafting a new Will or revising your existing Will, as well as all aspects of succession planning.
All assets owned by both spouses will theoretically be considered as part of your divorce settlement, including your family business. However, if the farm was inherited, is held in a trust or is co-owned with other members of your family, this can complicate matters.
It is always worth speaking to a specialist family lawyer with particular expertise in farming divorce to make your legal position clear.
It is very rare that a court would order a farm be sold to make a divorce settlement and so this is worth bearing in mind whether you are negotiating a settlement or applying to a court for a financial order.
Depending on the circumstances, it might make sense to sell some land, buildings or other assets as part of the settlement, borrow money against the business or give the non-farming spouse an ongoing income from the business to reach a fair settlement.
In most cases, the answer is no. The majority of divorces can be resolved through negotiation, mediation and other types of non-confrontational dispute resolution. This allows you to keep control of the process, as well as generally being much faster, less costly and less stressful than court proceedings.