When you face divorce as a farmer or rancher, you know your land and livelihood are at stake. Even if your enterprise predates your marriage, your spouse may receive a share of your business. If you run it together, you may wonder how daily operations can possibly move forward.
Understanding these important considerations can help you prepare for the separation and divorce process when you own a ranch or farm.
The fate of the farm
The first order of business is to decide whether to sell or keep the farm or ranch. If you both have your hands in running the show, think about putting conflict aside and continuing to work together. This may involve designating separate responsibilities, delegating certain tasks to new or existing employees, and updating or creating an operating agreement that reflects the new structure of the business.
If one spouse wants to leave, the other may have to buy out his or her share of the farm. Some couples decide to sell off the whole enterprise and share the proceeds.
The property division process
Accurate valuation plays an essential role in property division when a divorcing couple owns a farm or ranch. You will need the input of experts in appraising land holdings, real estate, livestock, equipment and inventory as well as the business itself. Based on equitable division standards in Wyoming, you must divide marital property fairly but not necessarily exactly in half.
Discussing these issues as soon as you decide to divorce can help preserve the heritage and profitability of your farm or ranch.