The complex property division issues that come up during a divorce can threaten your family farm. If you are a farmer who is facing a divorce then it is imperative that you work with a divorce lawyer who specializes in these types of cases.
A farm divorce requires an understanding of the needs of your business and of complex asset profiles. Our lawyers have backgrounds in business and civil litigation as well as in family law, and we’ve helped hundreds of other farmers protect their property, their livelihood, and their children’s futures.
Why is divorce such a danger to the family farm?
If you owned the farm before you got married it is technically non-marital property. Yet there are dozens of ways you might have co-mingled it with marital property, meaning your spouse could have access to it during the divorce.
Further, in most farm marriages both you and your spouse serve as business owners. You’re not just dissolving a marriage, you’re dissolving a business partnership as well.
In addition, the property can be harder to divide than in standard marriages. You can’t just sell off a piece of equipment you need to run the farm. Livestock and crops have variable values. Yearly income changes, making issues of child support and spousal support harder to calculate.
The family home is right there on the family business. It may not be easy to sell any parcels of property.
In short, unless matters are handled very carefully it may look like only one spouse can emerge the winner, leading to a contentious divorce…or both spouses may well lose everything that gives them any net worth at all.
What kinds of options do farmers have?
There are many equitable solutions that can preserve the farm as a functional business. We have helped many couples find them.
For example, allowing one spouse to buy out the other spouse’s share of the farm and the home can create a highly equitable solution that doesn’t require any break-up of the property or the assets.
Some spouses, conscious of preserving their children’s inheritance, have been willing to accept this buy out as a series of structured payments rather than as a lump-sum payment.
We also have methods for helping to set fair child and spousal support amounts based on average annual income and to account for fluctuations in farm income, such as to use the percentage of annual income instead of a monthly payment to ensure that no party becomes overburdened.
There are other ways to handle these issues, depending upon your total asset profile. When you visit with our lawyers we’ll give you personalized solutions.
Why Merchant Law?
The more complex your divorce matter is, the greater the difference it can make and the more it matters to have a lawyer who is experienced in issues specific to farm divorces. Clearly the lawyer and law firm you choose for a specialized, complex farm divorce will have a direct impact on how well you do in terms of the case results and ultimate outcomes.
The most senior family law lawyers at Merchant Law have decades of experience navigating delicate farm divorce issues. You can count on us to bring the solutions, strategies, and negotiation skills that help you accomplish your goals. We’re committed to helping you settle out of court so that the unpredictable litigation process doesn’t add further stress to an already-stressful process.
Call today to make an appointment. You can reach us at (403) 237-7777.