Farming and Divorce

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK's Legal Profession

We have considerable experience of farming divorces and the difficulties these cases can present. Farming divorces are unique, fact specific and often involve highly charged emotions. It is essential that the correct strategy is adopted from the outset and that is what our team prides itself on getting absolutely right.

At the very beginning of a case involving a farming family, we visit our client and the farm to experience the situation on the ground and how it works. It is crucial that we can visualise the partnership or business structure, the particular features of the farm and the involvement of other family members. It also gives our client the confidence that we understand what is at stake.

We are experts in recognising and navigating the particular issues which effect farming cases such as:

  • low liquidity;
  • the implications of a sale;
  • a volatile trading climate;
  • wider family ownership;
  • trust arrangements;
  • inheritance and succession planning; 
  • complex valuation exercises; and
  • development potential and ‘matrimonial’ and ‘non-matrimonial’ assets.

Over the years, a large number of “farming” divorce cases have been decided in the High Court in London. Inevitably, a small number of London law firms and their family law practices (of which we are one) have gained the ability, knowledge and understanding of the way in which these disputes play out and are contested.  Our team therefore has extensive litigation experience, contacts and the all-important instinct which  makes us uniquely placed to recognise and understand the issues and strategy required to defend and contest these cases.

Our team has forged strong relationships with a diverse range of expert professionals (such as valuers of agricultural property, farmland, livestock, deadstock, accountants who specialise in agricultural business valuations and tax and experts advising on trusts, tenancies and planning) both in the UK and abroad, with the objective of working together with our clients to provide knowledge and advice. We provide you with a full and well-rounded service, not just legal and tactical guidance.

We also understand the importance of protecting a farming business from the consequences of a potential future divorce and we regularly advise on pre and post nuptial agreements involving farming assets.  We understand the sensitivity and lack of romance in contemplating a marriage breakdown before (or shortly after) your wedding but planning ahead is essential for every farming family; it could mean the difference between the business being sold or continuing for the benefit of future generations.  

Our specialist Wills, Trust and Inheritance team are also experienced in dealing with Farms and Landed Estates in the context of inheritance disputes (or pre-empting such disputes).

Our experience

Some examples of our team's experience in farming cases include:

  • Obtaining a multimillion pound settlement in the High Court for a wife and partner in an immensely successful fruit farming business -we put forward carefully constructed, complex arguments surrounding the mingling of non-matrimonial property and the subsequent sharing of that property regardless of its origin, and achieved an enormously positive outcome for our client
     
  • Representing a husband and farmer of a sixth generation farming business - successfully achieving a clean break settlement on terms which entirely protected the farming enterprise and enabled it to be preserved for our client and for the children of the family.
     
  • Acting for a former jockey in financial proceedings involving a successful stud farm - our specialist knowledge of and strong contacts within the equestrian field enabled us to get to the crux of the issues quickly and identify expert valuers and accountants.  We understood the financial reality of the business and the family dynamic which, when presented in the financial disclosure process, assisted the parties to reach an early settlement.
     
  • Advising upon and drafting a high net worth pre nuptial agreement involving a second marriage for both parties - the aim was to protect the significant farming interests on behalf of our client and the children of his first marriage and this involved identifying and valuing the business structure to ring-fence and protect it, as far as possible, against division upon a future divorce.
     
  • Acting for a third generation hop farmer in one of the last great hop farms in England - successfully achieving an outcome that preserved the farm for future generations of the family.
     
  • A claim following a short marriage - successfully defending against the very significant development value of an equestrian centre following a change in the local plan.
     
  • Representing the owners of two significant dairy and beef farms - one involving complex family trust arrangements and the other focussed on the decline in milk prices and plans to diversify and the pressure to sell and realise development value.
     
  • Representing a wife seeking to share in the value of an African game park.

If you require further information or advice from our team of specialist family lawyers relating to farming and divorce, please contact a member of our team or call us on +44 (0)20 7814 1200.

Services

Farms and Estates Disputes

Family farms and landed estates often fall front and centre in inheritance disputes and we have considerable expertise in representing clients in these types of matters.

Family and Divorce

Recognised nationally and internationally as one of the best family law teams for our expertise in both finance and cases relating to children.

Considering Divorce or Separation

Considering divorce or separation is stressful and affects people in different ways. Our experienced family lawyers will listen and discuss the options with you.

Financial Arrangements

The majority of divorces and separations involve consideration of the family's financial arrangements. Our lawyers are highly regarded for their ability to give practical and clear advice on the financial implications of relationship breakdown.

Thinking about the Children

We have considerable expertise in guiding our clients through the legal issues affecting their children and placing them at the centre of all decisions made following separation to minimise any potential distress for them.

Cohabitants and Unmarried Families

The impact of separation on the ownership of property and other assets is a complex area of law. Our family and property litigation lawyers are highly experienced in relation to property disputes between unmarried couples.

Getting Married

Couples marrying or entering a civil partnership often don’t consider how their legal obligations will change. We can prepare agreements to provide them with certainty about their financial rights and obligations if the relationship should break down.

Alternatives to Litigation

Going through litigation and the court system is not always the best route for everyone faced with divorce or separation. We can guide you through alternatives to going through court such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.

Changing Your Solicitor or Obtaining a Second Opinion

Experience shows that getting the best advice at the outset is critical. The advice you receive can be costly and all the more so if it is wrong. We frequently speak with clients who are not receiving the support they should and therefore regularly take over cases from other solicitors at the beginning or part way through.

Working with You and Other Professionals

We will work with you in ways that best suit your needs. That may involve us guiding and advising you in the background or representing you and fighting your corner in the courts. If required, we will call on additional support from other trusted professionals

Farming and Divorce Insights

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+44 (0)20 7814 1200

enquiries@kingsleynapley.co.uk

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