While a majority of Floridians live in cities, the state still has a lot of farmers. What to do with a family business during a divorce is always a tricky question. Most of the time, the business is either a massive boon or an albatross. What many people don’t consider is that for some Floridians their farm is a family business. So how do families divide up a farm in a divorce? This and many other questions are answered in the Family Law Issues in Agriculture Factsheet series.
Orders Of Protection
The average person refers to an orders of protection as a restraining order. The order extends to anybody whose partner is stalking, harassing, or abusing them. The order is available to married couples, romantic partners, and familial relationships. For example, if a farmer landlord uncle is taking advantage of a niece who is a tenant of his home.
One of the issues surrounding family law and agriculture is determining income for an agribusiness is nearly impossible at times. Typically, the court is made aware of factors that diminish income due to an agribusiness. The court takes factors such as accelerated depreciation, prepays, and other deductions into account by the court. The court also takes into account if the farm pays for or supplies housing phones, vehicles, or food.
Child Custody & Visitation
The main concern for many parents concerning custody and visitation is school break time. Many children surrounded by agribusiness often become involved in agricultural extracurricular activities. More often than not those extracurricular activities cut into vacation time. Potential disruptions to the schedule by FFA, 4-H, or other agriculture organizations must be taken into account.
Animal Law Issues
Animal law issues are pretty unique to farm and agribusiness divorces. Live animals as well as animals’ genetic material is open to potential property issues. Service animals go with the person that they are meant to assist. Other than that, who animals go to is determined by a variety of factors.
When it comes to child support, farmers encounter similar issues as to spousal support. What counts toward income and what does not is a confusing matter in agribusiness. Legal experts strongly encourage farmers or agribusiness owners to consult a family lawyer who has experience with agribusiness.
Equitable distribution is essentially the option other than community property. Remember than in this case equitable does not mean equal. In this case, equitable means fair. The courts determine equitable distribution largely on a case by case basis. However, the longer the marriage has been together, the more likely courts will rule for a 50/50 asset split.