The division of farm assets can create special considerations in a Winnipeg divorce case. This is because the farm usually contains both the family home and a family business that will need to be divided up.
The farmland itself may be inherited, non-marital property, but the farm equipment is often a marital asset, as are additional acres added to the farm, and property improvements made to the farm. Crops and livestock are assets too, but they aren’t easy to divide up the same way the dollar amount in a checking account might be. Farms also often carry a lot of debt…and dividing that debt can be difficult when it’s wrapped up in farming tools or plot mortgages.
Some farms do not survive the divorce process. If you want yours to be an exception, you’ll need lawyers who are trained in farmer’s divorces.
Options in a Farming Divorce
If attempting to divide assets the usual way would destroy the farm there are options. For example, one spouse can “buy out” the other spouse’s interest in the farm. Of course, the spouse who wants to keep the farm may not have the assets to do that. In this case, the spouses may agree to pay that settlement out over a period of years.
It may also be prudent to sell some assets that are not profitable to create more liquid assets to be divided during the divorce. This may create a cash payout that the non-farming spouse will be willing to accept in lieu of the farmland, home, and farming tools.
Every case is different, and will require creative solutions.
Prenups for Farmers
We recommend every farmer put together a prenuptial agreement before marriage to help circumvent some of these issues during the divorce process. Farmers often don’t think of themselves as the kinds of “high-asset” people who require this protection, but it can save your farm’s future.
You will need the same expertise for these prenups as you’d need for the divorce. You’ll want lawyers who are well-versed in handling farm divorces because anticipating the needs of an eventual divorce is the key to a binding and useful prenup.
Why Choose Merchant Law?
We know how to craft the kinds of solutions that save family farms while simultaneously creating divorce settlements likely to be accepted by Manitoba courts. We’ve got decades of experience serving the farming community, and our lawyers understand the most common issues.
We listen to what you want from the divorce process, and work to give you your best chance at getting it. We’re adept at negotiation, which is a key skill for any divorce lawyer. Finally, we’re known for being some of Manitoba’s toughest litigators, which means we’re ready to fight for you if your divorce case must be argued in court.
Ready to get started? Contact our office today for a free consultation.