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On the farm

Farming divorces typically involve complex business ownership structures and require special care, as Laura Martin explains

26 September 2019

A marriage breakup in any family is upsetting, but when there is divorce in a farming family the consequences can often be far reaching. The worst-case scenario is the dividing up of the farm, which tends to benefit no one.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) an estimated 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce.

The latest figures (for 2017) show there were 101,669 divorces among opposite sex couples. Farmers are not immune from this and the strain on farm marriages is often exacerbated by long hours, physical exhaustion, social isolation, financial worries, red tape and stress.

What makes farming divorces different?

A farming business may have been in the family for generations, with parents, siblings and children all being involved in the farming enterprise. This complex ownership – often involving family trusts – means that dividing up assets on divorce can be extremely challenging.

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