Family farms are often handed down for generations within one spouse’s family. As a result, they are brought into the marriage with the expectation that it will be retained and passed down for the future benefit of the children of the family. This often means that the family farm is not just of commercial value, but will also be inextricably linked, emotionally, to the farming-spouse who would wish to retain it post-divorce.
This can present a number of difficulties in meeting the non-farming spouse’s entitlement to financial relief in farming cases on divorce when much of the capital takes the form of land, deadstock and livestock. The non-farming spouse will ordinarily have made a full contribution to the marriage and welfare of the family. This contribution would support the non-farming spouse’s entitlement to a financial claim that meets their needs and entitlement on divorce.
In assisting clients in cases that involve farming businesses this will often require unique and resourceful solutions to the issues presented by liquidity and cash flow to meet a non-farming spouse’s entitlement. At the same time, the settlement will have to preserve the business for the farming spouse so they are not deprived of the livelihood and hereditary nature of the business.
Where the farming business is the sole source of income for the family, the Court will consider ways in which that source of income can be preserved, so far as possible, and consider alternative ways of raising capital to meet the non-farming spouse’s need and entitlement without selling the whole of the business. That is not to say, however, that there have not been cases previously where the Courts have ultimately determined that a farm must be sold to meet the non-farming spouse’s financial claims on divorce.
Such cases therefore require expert and early strategic preparation from your lawyers who are able to explore and secure successful outcomes without weakening the commercial viability of the farming business.
At Stowe Family Law LLP we provide a team of divorce solicitors and family lawyers who are experienced in analysing and understanding the types of assets that arise in farming matters and achieve a successful outcome for farming and non-farming spouses alike.