Why farmers should consider prenuptial or postnuptial agreements

Tue 29th Aug 2017

Coodes Solicitors Partner and Head of the Family Team, Elise Alma, and Corporate and Commercial lawyer Kirsty Davey explain why farmers should consider prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

Partner and Family lawyer Elise Alma says: “Going through a divorce is stressful for everyone, but for farmers the fall-out can be devastating. Not only does it spell the end of a marriage, and often the break-up of a family, it can also lead to the sale of a farm. One reason why a divorce can be catastrophic for a farming family is that many farms are run as partnerships, involving other family members. With many farms now worth millions, when a divorce happens the stakes are high.

“Prenups can help provide more certainty by setting out an agreement between the new couple on how their assets will be divided should they go their separate ways in future. For farmers, of course, these assets include the farm.”

Coodes Corporate and Commercial lawyer, Kirsty Davey adds: “Pre and postnups have often been seen as an American trend and not something for us Brits. However, from a business perspective they can be vital in making your structure as secure as it can be. This can limit the impact of a divorce on your succession plans.”

Elise Alma continues: “Far less well known, postnuptial agreements work in exactly the same way as prenups, but can be drawn up at any point during a marriage. Postnups would be worth considering for a couple preparing to pass the farm onto the next generation.

“In this country prenups are not legally binding but divorce courts will generally respect them, provided they are properly drawn up. This means seeking expert legal advice, to ensure both of you are happy with the terms of the agreement.

“For farmers, having well drawn up prenups or postnups in place could ensure the farm is not sold to meet a settlement, keeping it in the family for future generations.”

For advice on these issues, contact Elise Alma on 01566 770000 or elise.alma@coodes.co.uk or Kirsty Davey on 01326 214034 or kirsty.davey@coodes.co.uk

Tue 29th Aug 2017

Elise Alma

Partner

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