A farm or a ranch is often a business, a family home, and a legacy all wrapped up into a single, unified package. Little wonder that divorce is such a threat to farmers and ranchers.
It’s a threat that’s growing, with farmers and ranchers experiencing divorces at unprecedented rates. While the luckiest farmers and ranchers have prenuptial agreements in place, others are caught blindsided and are thus forced to try to work out the best settlement they can. The unpredictable results of taking a farm divorce case all the way to litigation can often result in a farm which can no longer function as a viable business entity.
A bad settlement can threaten the viability of the farm as well, which is why it’s so important to work with a farm and ranch divorce expert when the dissolution of the marriage becomes inevitable.
What happens to your ranch, crops, or livestock in a divorce?
Livestock and crops are assets just like any other, and they’ll need to be valuated and taken into account. This does not necessarily mean that both spouses will take a portion of the animals. Sometimes it means one spouse will take the animals while paying an equalization payment to the other spouse.
The variable worth of these assets will also have to be taken into account when tackling issues of child support and spousal support.
How do you protect your farm or ranch during a divorce?
First, work with an experienced farm or ranch divorce attorney who will actually take the time to evaluate your family’s unique business structure. Who works with the customers? Who handles the finances?
Which spouse wants to stay on the land and continue the business? Does either spouse want out?
Is there a concern for passing the farm on to future generations, and is that concern shared by both spouses? Who owned the farm prior to the marriage? Has the property become commingled to the point where it’s all marital property, or is some of it off-limits? What assets will be required to keep the farm in operation? What debts does the farm owe?
This understanding is absolutely vital. It will allow your attorney to propose potential solutions and settlement offers that are capable of meeting your needs.
Why choose Merchant Law for your farm or ranch divorce?
Our divorce attorneys also have a background in real estate and business law, and have decades of experience helping farmers and ranchers just like you. This means you get the benefit of perspective and experience that allows us to put together workable solutions for your family farm.
The attorneys at our Cochrane, AB office are ready to serve you. Contact us at (403) 225-7777 to get the help you need protecting your farm from the divorce process.