The division of farm assets can create significant legal challenges. Most farm assets are not liquid, and are necessary for the farm to produce or remain viable. This requires your family law lawyer to come up with some truly creative solutions. Even valuing the assets can be difficult, as the value of crops and livestock can be difficult to pin down.
The team at Merchant Law has handled many farm divorces over the decades. This has given us a broad range of past successes to draw from as we take a look at your unique situation. As a result, we may be able to save your family farm even as we help you navigate through your divorce.
For the most part, inherited property is exempt from an Alberta divorce, which means if you inherited your house and farm then you may not have to worry about dividing the land.
However, nonmarital property can become marital property if it gets comingled with marital property. You can expect your ex to make a play for the farm in many cases. You’ll need a tough defense to help demonstrate that the farm is yours.
Any farm equipment acquired after the marriage is going to be marital property. It may have to be sold and the proceeds divided, which can act as a setback for farmers who need that equipment to handle their crops and livestock.
You will need to make your lawyer keenly aware of how your operations work and what you will need to preserve to keep going once the divorce is done.
Many farms accumulate significant debts. The spouse who does not intend to stay on the farm will not want to take on many debts related to it, since they will not have the assets to pay it off.
Negotiating debts can be extremely tricky during a farm divorce.
Farmers rarely make the same amount of money from year to year, which means it can be difficult to calculate spousal support and child support payments. These payments can swiftly become overburdensome in a bad year, and paying to have them modified can be equally burdensome.
Ideally, your lawyer will help you negotiate an arrangement that keeps this truth front and center. For example, your spouse might accept a yearly percentage of profits over a monthly support payment.
Negotiation is key.
Divorcing farmers need tough, creative negotiators on their side, individuals who will propose solutions to these troublesome problems.
The team at Merchant Law contains some of the toughest family lawyers in Alberta. We also know how to propose solutions like buy-outs, lump sum payments, and highly structured settlement that allow for a fair compromise. Ideally we will keep your case out of the courts, preventing a situation where you turn control over to a judge who doesn’t understand your farm the way you do.
Get help by contacting our office today. We will be happy to take a look at your situation, answer your questions, and help you formulate your next steps.