Usually, the starting point for a settlement on divorce, particularly with a long marriage, is an equal division of the assets.
Often, the outcome in farming cases is different, focussing primarily on the housing needs of the departing spouse and any children of the family, rather than seeking to provide a specific percentage division of the assets. The reason for 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 every effort will be made to ensure that a fair settlement is achieved without the farm being sold or its viability damaged. It will therefore be a case of seeing how capital can be raised by looking principally at development potential and borrowing. Drawing on the services of other professionals such as an expert valuer, farming consultant and an accountant will be vital.
Pragmatism and an agreed solution is always the best approach so as to avoid acrimony, increased legal costs and to reach a solution where both parties’ needs are met, in addition to those of any children and that the farm is preserved for the future.
Jayne Turner is a trained and experienced collaborative lawyer and will advise on whether Collaborative Law is the right option for you. 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 2018 Directory as "sensible, client focused and knowledgeable".