We are experts at advising in divorces involving farms and clients in the agricultural sector. There are often complexities with these assets which do not ordinarily arise so it is key that you seek specialist advice.

Farms are treated similarly to businesses on divorce, but a key difference is that the business often holds large amounts of capital. Unlocking that capital can be tricky. Furthermore, the farm is more than just a business and represents a way of life, farmers often see themselves as custodians of the land on behalf of future generations.

The ownership of farms can be complex and diverse. They are often inherited assets passed from generation to generation which may merit special consideration.

We may need to work with our Estates team to ensure that there is full understanding of issues specific to the land and tax issues.

1. Will I have to sell the farm?

This will depend on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the needs of the parties, the sustainability of the farm and the availability of other assets. It is rare for a whole farm to be sold and the court will seek to avoid a sale which would be detrimental to the continuation of the farming business. We will seek to find creative solutions to try and prevent a sale where this is possible.

3. Will the farm have to be valued?

Unless the parties can agree on the value of the farm, it is usual that a single joint expert will be instructed to prepare a valuation. Valuing the land requires a specialist valuation but it may also be necessary for there to be additional valuations of stock and equipment.

4. The farm is owned by a trust – will this prevent orders from being made against it?

The treatment of trusts on divorce depends upon the type of trust and the reason for its creation. This is a specialist area and it is important to understand the nature of the trust.

5. How can I ensure that my farm will be protected in the event of my divorce?

The best way to protect a farm from the consequences of divorce would be to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement addressing how the farm business and assets should be dealt with in the event that the marriage breaks down. If you are already married, you can instead enter into a post-nuptial agreement, although you cannot do so unless your spouse is willing to agree to this.  

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