If you farm in the state of New York and face the prospect of divorce, you will likely need to navigate a unique set of trials in pursuit of a fair division of assets. Farms are active entities that need daily upkeep, attention and hard work to run smoothly and maintain growth. Depending on what you and your spouse want from your divorce, financial loss may be difficult to avoid.
What to look out for
If possible, try not to resort to a buyout. A divorce buyout makes one spouse purchase their own land a second time. If your financial situation is already tenuous, that could be the first step toward losing your farm. Trusts and life estates are effective ways to avoid buyouts and ensure that your farm gets left to your children or other relevant parties.
Your farm’s value as an asset is probably much greater than the determined income of you and your spouse. That makes IRAs and 401(k)s much harder to define and raises concerns about adequate savings should the need for either you or your spouse’s long-term care arise. If possible, it is generally in everyone’s best interests to not only maintain the farm but keep it growing effectively and generating revenue.
Farming is a unique business
Farming means total, round-the-clock commitment, and both spouses in a couple are usually deeply invested in their farm’s upkeep and growth. Sentimentality can arise and impede divorce proceedings. These factors make dividing a farm during divorce complicated. Generally, the division of farms between divorcing couples results in the loss of value and income for both parties.
To mitigate the severity of your financial losses, it is usually a good idea to seek legal advice. If you and your spouse own a farm and are divorcing, an experienced lawyer may be a good option for helping to reduce your collective financial losses.