Deciding to sever a marriage is often an emotional experience. What follows can be even more challenging. Divvying assets can create increased tension between you and your soon-to-be ex. The process is even more complicated when a family farm is involved.
Illinois’ Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides for the equitable distribution of assets in a divorce. Determining what happens to the family farm can be complicated.
The challenges inherent in asset distributions for farmers
Farming is often a generational business, with the land and business passed on from generation to generation. When a family member inherits the farm, whether before or after a divorce, the intent is often to maintain succession. A question many divorcing farming couples has is how to keep the farm intact and still provide for equitable distribution.
If the goal is to provide for your children and pass the farm down to the next generation, then selling the farm is unappealing, to say the least. When the agricultural business is also the source of retirement investments, you have an additional hurdle to overcome in the equitable distribution of your farming assets.
The possible outcomes for the farm business
There are multiple potential outcomes for your business, including:
- One partner may purchase the other’s share of the business
- Both of you can continue to operate the business together
- You have to divide the farm assets between you, effectively splitting the business
- You end up liquidating the farm
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the farm will be preserved in a divorce. The judge considers numerous factors when deciding what is equitable in a divorce that involves an agricultural business. Working together to arrive at an agreement provides the best option for a favorable outcome.