Farmers face many challenges. These challenges are more pronounced when the divorce process starts. Farmers are both personal property owners and business owners. Property becomes harder to divide when it is necessary to bring in crops. Valuations are harder when addressing assets like livestock, or crops.
If you’re going to make it through this process, you need an expert divorce lawyer who can help you address the complexities of a family farm divorce. Our team has decades of experience helping farmers like you navigate this difficult process.
Does divorce threaten family farms?
Yes. If your divorce is handled incorrectly there is a good chance your family farm will not survive. Often families commingle marital and non-marital assets just to keep the family farm afloat. Division of assets could mean parceling up pieces of land or having to sell off important pieces of farm equipment.
There may be no retirement account. There may be rental income to account for. Each spouse may have variable income, complicating spousal support and child support. Farms often operate on a shoestring budget and have a great deal of debt to begin with.
All of these challenges require deft legal strategies to maneuver around, as well as creative negotiations that allow each partner to get their due while allowing the farm to continue operating.
What kind of options do divorcing farmers have?
Some of the solutions we’ve crafted involve allowing one spouse to “buy out” the other spouse’s interest in the farm, and to do so over a period of years rather than with a lump sum.
We’re also business lawyers, so we’ve been able to help our clients restructure debts or find ways to liquidate assets that allows the farm operations to continue. In some cases, allowing a spouse to maintain a non-controlling interest in the business and paying them dividends could be the superior options.
Bring us your unique situation so that we can help you find the right solutions.
Should farmers get prenuptials?
Yes. Farmers are a picture-perfect example of the type of person who should have a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can help inherited farm property remain your own when you divorce, protecting your farm’s ability to operate before it’s ever threatened.
That’s not to say a divorce might not result in spousal support or the loss of some assets, but this document can vastly improve your farm’s future outlook. If you are contemplating a marriage, reach out to us so we can help.
Why Merchant Law?
Decades of experience with farm divorces give us the perspective and understanding we need to guide you through this process. In addition we are business and civil litigation specialists, which offers an additional breadth of expertise that can help you in the divorce process.
Set an appointment with one of our experienced farm divorce lawyers. Call (306) 653-7777 today.