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Divorces among farming communities are historically more complex and treated differently by the courts.  

Whereas divorces outside the farming sector are more straightforward to establish which assets the respective spouses own, farming-related cases entail working out how ex husbands and wives and their children can be provided for – avoiding, if possible, the sale of assets.

Some farms are run as limited companies and others as a partnership – the latter frequently without a formal agreement which can cause confusion over how assets are treated on separation. Establishing the value of assets is extremely important with valuations required, for example, of machinery, crops in the ground and milk quotas.

In most cases the farm, which is also the matrimonial home, is a generational asset that has been in the family for many decades. In divorce it is usually a better course of action to preservethe ongoing business enterprise as this is the income producing asset. 

Solutions to meet a spouse’s housing and income needs may however necessitate selling plots of land, particularly if it will not affect the viability of the business. The court will also examine whether borrowing is feasible against farm assets to raise capital, again to minimise the impact on the business.

Setting in place pre-nuptial agreements – which are becoming more common in large scale farming enterprises – can go a long way to secure the future of the farm and protect and preserve its assets for future generations.

Although still not legally binding in England and Wales, in the majority of cases pre-nups are widely accepted as the sensible way for couples to avoid the potential distress, acrimony and expense associated with resolving financial matters, should their relationship end.

The agreements must be entered into freely and willingly by both parties, ensuring the outcome would not result in an unfair settlement for either of them. It is vital that both spouses enlist independent legal advice before signing them.   

Situations where such contracts run into problems include when judges think they have been signed in haste and under pressure. They will want to know that the partner with the most to lose understood the agreement, was not under duress when they signed it, and took independent legal advice. Courts may ignore or vary pre-nups drawn up in haste.

We always advise that the agreement is signed at least 21 days before the wedding, making full financial disclosure and securing good legal advice.

If respected family lawyers help draw up the agreement, judges can be confident that both parties understood it fully and were not rushed into it.

Jones Myers has extensive expertise in cases involving farming and agricultural assets in marriage and relationship breakdown. Call our Leeds office on 0113 246 0055, our Harrogate office on 01423 276104, visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet us @helpwithdivorce

By Norman Taylor

When couples divorce or terminate a civil partnership, a key issue is dividing any pension rights that have been built up during – and possibly before – the relationship started.

In fact, it has become more common for pension pots to make up the second highest value asset in a divorce settlement after the family home. In some cases it is the most valuable asset. (more…)

By Norman Taylor, collaborative family lawyer

The prospect of divorce can be overwhelming, exhausting and frightening.

In our experience, most couples who’ve decided there is no going back, want to avoid a costly and stressful courtroom battle over the division of their assets and ensure the best interests of their children.

Even though their relationship as husband and wife has ended, their futures will be inextricably linked with planning and sharing their children’s development and well-being. (more…)

A case handled by Jones Myers has helped five Supreme Court judges to rule that a divorced surveyor should not have to increase payments to his former wife who mishandled her finances after they broke up.

The case of Graham and Maria Mills, who divorced in 2002 after a 15-year marriage, has put the spotlight on the ‘meal ticket for life’ scenario in which a wife receives maintenance in her life time. (more…)

As an in-house barrister at Jones Myers, what type of cases do you work on?

Some of my cases involve complex financial matters where there are trusts and offshore structures – I worked offshore in Jersey before moving to Jones Myers. Our firm also has extensive expertise in Children Law matters and I represent and assist parents with child arrangement orders and relocation cases. (more…)

By Polly Coram, solicitor
The fundamental basis of any will is that a person has a right to leave what they want, to who they want. If a person dies without leaving a Will, then they are ‘intestate’ and their estate is distributed under the Intestacy Rules.

However, in our experience with will and trust disputes, it is increasingly common for beneficiaries, and those left without any provision, to challenge the inheritance they have (or have not) been provided with. There are a number of ways in which they are able to do this and a brief summary is below. (more…)

The case of a solicitor who was struck off for failing to declare an interest in a property when undergoing a divorce, reinforces how not even lawyers themselves are exempt from the law.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that the solicitor admitted signing a statement of truth which failed to declare his interest in a property. (more…)

Polly Coram, solicitor with Jones Myers wills and trust department

To minimise legal costs, many parents who want to leave their estate to their children entrust its administration to friends and family instead of appointing a legal advisor.

A question we are frequently asked is, what will happen to the inheritance if a child passes away before the parent?    (more…)

It’s celebration time as we mark 25 years as a niche family law practice which continues to go from strength to strength.

(more…)

Jones Myers team

 

Our highly experienced team at Jones Myers has opened a new office at Windsor House, Cornwall Road in Harrogate as we mark our 25-year anniversary.

The milestone for our specialist family law firm, which operates out of Leeds and London, is to accommodate an increase in instructions from our clients in North Yorkshire.

The move has been widely featured across print and broadcast media including The Yorkshire Post, The BusinessDesk, BusinessLink, Bdaily, the Harrogate Advertiser and Stray FM.

2017 has been a formative year for our practice, which was founded in Leeds by Peter Jones – one of the country’s leading family lawyers and a former national chairman of Resolution.

We are consistently ranked in a joint Top Tier position by the Legal 500 and Chambers guides for Leeds, West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire.

Chambers 2018 describes us as, “A very strong firm – not just in finance but also in children cases.” It adds, “Expertise in dealing with financial remedy nuptial cases adds depth to their practice.”

The latest edition of the highly respected Legal 500 guide describes Jones Myers as “a family practice that is one of the best in the area” and attracts praise for our “sensible, expert, conciliatory advice that does what it says on the tin.”

Our clients are based regionally, nationally and internationally, and we have earned an enviable reputation working exclusively in divorce, separation, complex financial disputes, children issues and contested wills and estates.

Our team of experts, which include a Deputy District Judge, an experienced mediator, a family law arbitrator and our own in-house barrister, jointly combine 250 years of legal experience.

Our move to Harrogate follows the recent expansion of our highly respected children’s department who are regarded as leading experts in issues of residence, contact, relocation, child protection and international child abduction.

Peter Jones said: “The services we provide at our Harrogate office complement those at our Leeds and London locations. We are proud to be recognised as lawyers who look for solutions to problems and are acknowledged for supporting families and children. We advise and guide where possible on options which can avoid conflict and unnecessary costs.

“A big ‘thank you’ to our valued and talented team in what is a momentous year for the firm.”

For more information about any aspect of divorce or family law, call Jones Myers at our Leeds office on 0113 246 0055, our Harrogate office on 01423 276104, visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet us @helpwithdivorce