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The starting point for a settlement on divorce, particularly with a long marriage, is an equal division of the assets.
The outcome in farming cases can be different, focusing primarily on the housing needs of the departing spouse and any children of the family as opposed to providing a specific percentage. This is because frequently, the farm has not been purchased by the couple during the marriage but acquired by way of inheritance.
A balancing exercise must be carried out to meet needs and efforts will be made to ensure a fair settlement is achieved without the farm being sold or its viability damaged. Liquidity issues are important such as development potential and borrowing. The impact of changing subsidies post-Brexit will also need to be considered together with the effects of the pandemic. The input of other professionals such as a valuer and an accountant will be vital.
Pragmatism and an agreed solution should avoid acrimony and increased legal costs and will help to achieve an outcome where both parties’ needs are met (to include any children) and the farm is preserved for the future.
Jayne Turner is a trained and experienced Collaborative lawyer. She is also a Resolution Accredited Specialist in Complex Financial Remedies and Pensions on Divorce and is an Advanced Member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel. Jayne is described in the Legal 500 2021 Directory as having "excellent client skills, deployed in a comfortable manner…coupled with a steely resolve to fight for the client".