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The divorce process: What farming families need to know



The farm can be one of the most treasured family assets. In many cases, the farming way of life will have been passed down through the generations and as such the farm often forms the hub of the family.

However, when couples divorce after a long marriage, all assets are placed into one ‘matrimonial pot.’ The assets are then divided so as to achieve equality; this can include the family farm.  The Court will consider the need to rehouse both parties and when there are children involved, the Court will want to ensure that they are rehoused in an adequate property. When there is no liquid capital, the Court will have to consider whether it is necessary to sell the farm.  However, many families will want to prevent this from happening.

In the event of divorce, farms can be more complicated than other assets. Farms are often inherited by one party prior to a marriage and can be owned by various members of a family. As such, there can be other parties’ rights and interests to consider. Additionally, many farmers will want the asset to be retained because it both generates their income and there is often a desire to leave it to future generations.

It is usually necessary to have the farm valued and assess the financial situation as a whole. This will enable a solicitor to determine whether a settlement can be reached without the need to sell the whole or parts of the farm.

It is usually possible to come to constructive solutions without recourse to the Court. If parties are able to enter into negotiations, then the complexity of the farm can be considered, and flexible solutions can be reached.

Furthermore, many of these issues can be prevented if the parties enter into a pre-nuptial agreement before they get married.  It is also possible to come to a similar agreement during the marriage; this is known as a post-nuptial agreement. The agreements create the opportunity to discuss what would happen to the family farm in the event of separation and can be very persuasive when coming to a financial settlement. It can also prevent lengthy solicitor negotiations or Court proceedings at a later date.

At Mogers Drewett, we understand the importance of retaining the farm but also achieving a fair financial settlement for both parties. If you would like further information, then please contact Victoria Cobham on  01749 342 323 at victoria.cobham@mogersdrewett.com

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