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By Jul 31, 2023 Posted in Divorce

Property division can be one of the most contentious elements of a divorce. This is particularly the case when the spouses own a farm. In order to reach a fair settlement, it is critical that the farm and all of its assets be assigned the proper values. Protect yourself and your future by working with a divorce attorney who understands what makes these cases unique. 

Valuation of the Real Property

When considering farm assets, you can separate them into two categories: 

  1. The real estate or real property, i.e., the farm itself, including the house
  2. The livestock, crops, equipment, and other assets

Valuation of the real property of the farm is perhaps the more straightforward of the two categories. However, the valuation of a farm is more challenging than typical residential real estate. The real estate markets are more limited; much larger loans may burden them, and the property is typically capable of producing an income. 

If you and your spouse purchased the farm while you were married, it would almost certainly be considered marital property and, therefore, subject to division. The good news is that the court may not require that you sell the farm and split the proceeds. Instead, you may have to give up other assets of similar value or otherwise make up the difference. This is why it is so crucial that you have an accurate valuation of the property. 

Valuation of Other Farm Assets

After you have arrived at the fair market value of the farm itself, you now need to inventory all of the other farm assets, such as your equipment, livestock, and crops. Valuation of these assets is often complex and requires much more work than looking up what they currently are selling for. More than likely, you will need to work with an expert appraiser to ensure that your farm assets are properly valued and accounted for fairly. 

Timing Is Important

Property acquired before the marriage may be considered separate non-marital property and, therefore, not subject to division. This rule can apply to expensive assets such as tractors or irrigation systems. This could also apply to livestock such as dairy cows, depending on the length of your marriage. The bottom line is that an accurate valuation relies upon ensuring that only marital assets are included. 

Call Simpson Legal Group to Protect Your Farm and Agricultural Assets

Farm divorces involve several complex issues. Do not put everything you have worked so hard for at risk by proceeding without the help of a divorce attorney who understands these case challenges. At Simpson Legal Group, we have over three decades of experience helping farmers navigate divorce. To discuss your case and how we can help, call us today at 712-256-9899 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation.

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50 Northcrest Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503
Phone: 712.256.9899

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