Going through a divorce is difficult no matter how you look at it, but if you own a farm, the divorce process could present additional challenges and concerns. In Iowa, several families own farms either for their own personal benefit or as a way to earn a living. Typically, both spouses contribute to the family farm in one way or another, which is why it can be so hard to figure out what to do with the farm in a divorce.
To protect your farm and associated assets during your divorce, find out how Iowa laws regard agricultural property and what methods you might use to retain your belongings.
Property Division Laws
When a couple decides to divorce, all of their marital property, the possessions they shared, are subject to division. Unless legal documents effectively name certain assets as individual assets, anything accumulated during the marriage is considered subject to division. Iowa courts aim to split all properties equitably, which means they do not need to be precisely 50/50, but they should be divided as fairly as possible. Couples may choose to divide their own properties, but if they go to court, the judge will likely decide how to distribute all applicable assets.
If the court divides the property, it will base all decisions on:
- The value of the properties
- Which spouse is receiving alimony and how much
- The financial state of either spouse
- What was accumulated during the couple’s separation
- Any applicable premarital agreements
- Which properties were brought into the marriage
- Which properties were inherited
How Do Courts Deal with Agricultural Property?
Iowa courts rarely attempt to split up farms and agricultural lands. Usually, the couples do not want to divide their farms either because it could significantly hurt the business. In most cases, one spouse will take the farm and the other will receive a larger portion of other marital assets instead.
Before anyone can make any decisions about the division of the farm, it must first be valued. The court needs to understand the true value of the land, any structures on the land, livestock, farming equipment, vehicles, crops, and any other assets associated with the farm. Depreciation should also be taken into account, as well as the value of any existing or future contracts.
If you and your spouse have a farm, make sure you know what to expect from your divorce. Our experienced Des Moines divorce lawyers can assess your situation and discuss your options, whether you wish to keep the farm or forgo ownership for the sake of other assets. Whatever your preferences, our firm can help protect your interests.
Contact The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLCto discuss your case with our Des Moines divorce lawyers.