D-i-v-o-r-c-e on the Farm – 11 Fact Sheets to Help You Through It

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Farm families may do a lot of estate planning, but according to a divorce attorney the couple may want to consideration how damaging a divorce can be . To address some of these unique challenges, the National Agricultural Law Center has published a fact sheet series discussing family law in agriculture.

The fact sheet series was authored by a very capable family divorce lawyer that was nice enough to let us borrow a bit of his time to discuss how divorce law can factor into this. The fact sheets discuss legal issues for families going through divorce and separation including child support, spousal maintenance, equitable distribution, and community property. The series also covers nuptial agreements, estate planning concerns and tools for alternative dispute resolution. Here is a great post to read more details about family law. Family law is a body of law that encompasses a wide array of issues related to family and domestic matters. A person faced with a family or domestic law issue may feel stress because of it’s often complex nature. There are attorneys that specialize and practice primarily in this area of law. Lawyers can deal with many issues that involve family and domestic related matters. Family law addresses marriage, civil unions and even domestic partnerships. Other issues that fall under the body of family law include adoption, legitimacy, surrogacy, spousal abuse, child abuse, and child adoption. Family law further encompasses matters such as divorce, property settlements, annulment, alimony, and parental responsibility (child support, child custody/visitation, and alimony).

Many attorneys limit their practice of law to the area focusing on family matters. Many family attorneys receive additional education and certification after passing the bar exam. These attorneys can become board certified to practice in family law. When choosing the right family attorneys you have a variety of different options to help you find and select an experienced attorney. One way to locate reputable family law attorneys is to use the attorney referral service through the state or city bar association. The attorney referral service through the bar association will provide you a number of qualified attorneys in good standing. Referrals from relatives, friends, neighbors or co-workers are also extremely useful in locating family law attorneys. This type of referral is useful because it will help you choose an attorney based on knowledge from someone who has been through an experience that may be similar to your situation. It will also help you evaluate the attorney based upon their representation of an actual client. Once you have selected at least three of four potential family law attorneys you can then prepare for you initial consultation. The initial consultation not only provides you the opportunity to discuss your matter but to also evaluate the attorney. You will want to focus on key indicators such as how well the attorney carefully pays attention while you are discussing your specific family issues.

Another important indicator to focus on will be the response of the attorney after you go over the facts of your case. A good attorney will explain the law as it relates to your situation so you can understand and ask additional questions if necessary. An attorney that uses legal jargon and does not clearly explain the law is one you may not want to retain as this indicates their lack of skill when working with a client. Initial consultations with attorneys will also cover retainers, fee agreements, and other necessary information. Always be prepared to provide documentation that relates to and supports your position and your case. With respect to the retainer and fee agreement you will want to carefully read over and ask questions so that you understand what agreement you will be entering into if you decide to hire the attorney. When dealing with a family law matter you will want to take you time in choosing an attorney. Family lawyers recommend that prospective clients take some time to reflect on their initial consultation before making a selection.

“Family law touches upon every socio-economic group and walk of life, including those involved in food and agriculture and multi-generational farm families,” Rincker said. “Every farm and ranch divorce is as diverse as each family itself but it can include complex legal issues that are unique to farmers and ranchers.” No one goes into a marriage thinking they will eventually file for a divorce. Dismally in our society, divorces have become more common and accepting than generations before. Either way, the whole family is hurt by a divorce. Emotions and strengths of character are tested during the roller coaster ride of a divorce. By having emotions and feelings being hit so hard, a person going through a divorce should not have to deal with the legal issues pertaining to their case. This era in one’s life should not be thought lightly and a divorce attorney should be hired to ease the burden. Even if you are contemplating hiring a divorce attorney, it should be considered that even lawyers will hire and delegate their own divorces to other attorneys. If you are deciding whether or not to hire a divorce attorney, it will be much easier on you and your family if you do. By hiring a divorce lawyer, he/she will be giving the professionalism and experience that is needed when dwelling into the legal system. The divorce attorney be as efficient as possible with filing papers with the courts and not having the emotional bond that their clients hold onto during a divorce. Hiring an expert in the field of family law will give you an advantage and save much time and effort during a high turmoil time in your life.

These fact sheets not only discuss legal issues for families going through these transitions (e.g., child support, spousal maintenance, equitable distribution/ community property, animal issues) but also include nuptial agreements and estate planning concerns.  Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) choices, including mediation are included in the links below.  Because family law is highly state-specific, these fact sheets address general issues.

Readers are cautioned to speak to an attorney licensed in their jurisdiction.

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Keeping the Farm Business Intact

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Farm Succession and Estate Planning Consideration

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Nuptial Agreements

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Community Property

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Alternative Dispute Resolution

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Orders of Protection

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Spousal Support

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Child Custody and Visitation

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Animal Law Issues

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Child Support

Family Law Issues in Agriculture: Equitable Distribution

 




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