Divorce and the Farm

Farming Divorces can be quite complicated for a variety of reasons.  The old stereotype is that farmers are asset rich and income poor.  That isn’t always accurate but provides an example of the kind of complicating feature.

Specialist Farming Solicitors
It is important to instruct a solicitor who has particular specialism in farming divorces and genuine experience.  Both Elizabeth Saunders (a farmer’s daughter) and David Milburn have extensive experience of dealing with these cases. Both are sympathetic to the sensitive and confidential nature of agricultural divorces.

Valuing the Farm
Valuing the farm can be particularly tricky and it is important to understand what can and cannot be valued.  Payments made under the Basic Payment Scheme for instance are considered to have a capital value within the context of a formal valuation of the farm.  There may also be complex ownership structures whether that be as a Partnership, Limited company or third party interests.  The family team have the added benefit of the Tanners Agricultural Law solicitors who can bring their expertise to the table.

Farm Liquidity
Once a farm has been valued, it then becomes necessary to consider issues such as liquidity (i.e. whether, and if so, how funds can be extracted from the farm).  Occasionally it also becomes necessary to consider whether it might be necessary to sell aspects of the farming business in a way that allows the farm to continue to trade and farm and consequently what income it is reasonable to expect the farm to generate.

Family Farm and Inherited Assets
It is also important to have a good understanding of the origins of the farm.  A multi-generational farm could be treated very differently by the Courts when considering how the assets should be divided.  It might be considered unfair for a multi-generational farm to be shared and sold. 

In P v P (Inherited Property) [2005] 1 FLR 576 Mumby J stated:
“Fairness may require quite a different approach if the inheritance is …. a landed estate that has been within one spouse’s family for generations and has been brought into the marriage with an expectation that it will be retained in specie for future generations”.