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Complications associated with divorce and owning a farm

Nebraska has its fair share of farmers. Many of whom are married couples who own and work their farms together. When these couples divorce, a number of complications may arise that can prove difficult to resolve.

Why is divorce considered more complicated for couples who own farms? Is there anything farming couples can do to ease the divorce process?

A little farm couple divorce history

Historically speaking, the divorce rate among farm couples is lower than the divorce rate of the general population. There was a brief time in the 1980s where there was a noticeable increase in divorces between farm couples but, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, the divorce rate for this particular group of individuals has been on the decline since 2012.

Complications of a farm couple divorce

A number of legal complications can present themselves in these cases. First off, there is the ownership issue. Your farm is not just your family home; it is your business. It is likely your sole source of income. Whom will keep ownership can be a tough thing to figure out, especially if you and your spouse have both put so much time, sweat, money and tears into making your farm successful.

Then there are debt issues. Many farmers have debts. Running a farm is expensive. When getting a divorce, both parties may be responsible for paying the debt. Whom will pay how much will need to be figured out and included in the divorce settlement.

Finally, the retirement fund issue needs addressing. As farmers are often self-employed, they are responsible for setting up and funding their own retirement funds. These funds are subject to division in divorce.

Easing the divorce process

Prenuptial agreements can ease the divorce process if the desire to end your marriage ever enters the picture. Of course, creating this agreement takes planning and preparation before the marriage. Many people often fail to consider this protection. Post-nuptial agreements may also offer some protection. In either of these documents, what each spouse should walk away with in the event of divorce can be written clearly in black and white.

If no protections are in place, the couple can work together to negotiate what they believe is a fair division of assets, or they can take the matter to court. Either way, legal counsel can be there from beginning to end, working for the best interests of the client.

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