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What will happen to my farm if I divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2023 | Family Law

Managing a farm is no small undertaking. Apart from rigorous manual labor involved in raising livestock and crops, farmers must also deal with the administrative and business side of farming, such as marketing, finances, and operations. If your family runs a farm and you are considering a divorce, it’s natural to be concerned about who gets what.

Property division in North Dakota

Spouses can decide how to divide marital assets. If you and your spouse can come to an agreement before the divorce is finalized, it will make the split much easier. Farmers with a prenuptial agreement may turn to the document for guidance.

If you and your spouse can’t agree on how to divide your assets, a judge will.

Perhaps you feel it’s only right that you keep the farm since you were the one who owned it before the marriage. Conversely, your spouse may feel entitled to a share of the farm if they made contributions to the operation.

North Dakota is an equitable distribution state. A court will not simply divide the assets 50/50 but instead, take into account a wide range of factors. Factors like the length of the marriage, each party’s financial situation contributions to the marriage and earning capacity may impact the judge’s decision.

Farms add a layer of complication

Many farms have been in the same family for generations and are passed down within the same household. A farm also has a significant amount of expensive and valuable crops, cattle, equipment, and infrastructure.

When deciding how to divide property, the judge has some leeway. For instance, the judge may allow you to purchase your spouse’s share. Or they may award your spouse a similarly valuable asset in exchange for allowing you to keep the farm or a specific property.

After pouring your blood, sweat and tears into your farm and struggling with marital issues, the last thing you want is to lose the farm in a divorce. Due to the particular conditions, some courts may lack the necessary expertise to handle a farm divorce. If you want to keep your farm after a divorce, it may be worth it to hire an attorney who specializes in such cases.