Vancouver Mandarin Chinese Farm Divorce Lawyer

Vancouver Mandarin Chinese Farm Divorce Lawyer

Vancouver Mandarin Chinese Farm Divorce Lawyer Featured Image

Are you a Chinese immigrant or business owner who came to Vancouver to start a farm business? If so, there is no greater threat to your business than a divorce.

Our office will provide you the legal help you need to save your farm. We speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, which means you can get your help in the language that you’re most comfortable speaking. 

This ensures you will know all of your options, and will be able to make decisions hand in hand with your lawyer. 

We are also extremely experienced farm lawyers, and can provide a wealth of creative, sophisticated legal solutions to help navigate the process.

Why Farm Divorces are More Complicated

A farm or a ranch is a home, a business, and a family inheritance all wrapped into one. Often, these businesses are multi-million dollar corporations in their own rights. British Columbia farmers sometimes even have sub-corporations to manage their operations. 

Yet many of the assets of the farm aren’t easily valued and much of the property can’t just be sold off without crippling the farm’s ability to function. 

“The law says it’s a 50-50 split. But how do you split a 90-foot drill worth half a million dollars? Who takes over payments on the debt? What happens to the yard and land if it originated with the husband’s family or the wife’s family? And who runs the business if the split happens during seeding, spraying, harvest, or shipping grain? Divorce on the farm is truly a bigger issue than who gets the car, the kids, and the border collie.” –Producer.com

Protecting your farm or ranch means completing a thorough evaluation of the farm’s business structure, as well as how your marriage intersects with those structures. Did your spouse work in the business? Which one of you managed the employees? Who handled the finances? Who dealt with customers? Are the husband and wife now both shareholders of the corporation? 

It also means determining your goals for the divorce. Often one spouse wants to stay and continue the farm, while the other wants to get their assets and get out. Are you interested in passing the farm on to your heirs? You’ll need special help to ensure that you can. 

While the land, house, or farm might be pre-marital property, this property often quickly becomes commingled with marital property. That means it’s not often as protected as it could be. Your spouse might have a right to property you thought was safe.

Farm divorces also come with many of the same issues as high net worth divorces. Many farmers are high net worth business owners. The fight to divide assets can be just as heated. There is just as much need to bring in accountants, tax professionals, valuation professionals, and other team members who can examine all of the implications of any given settlement offer. There is just as much of a temptation to hide assets in a farm divorce, which almost always leads to disaster for the one who tries it

If you and your spouse had children, you’ll still have to account for custody too, and that can make ownership of the family home an even greater point of contention. The person who has custody will often want to keep right on raising the kids on the farm. Navigating co-parenting agreements and securing your children’s inheritance takes a deft hand. 

Our team will take all of these issues into account and more. We will work hard to help you come up with a settlement that will protect your farm while remaining in accordance with British Columbia and Canadian divorce law. 

FAQ

How are assets divided in a farm divorce?

On its surface, a farm divorce isn’t much different from any other kind of divorce. Both spouses have a right to 50% of the marital property.

In reality, structured buyouts, lump sum equalization payments, and profit shares may be the only way to divide property according to the law while simultaneously keeping the farm safe.

In addition, farmers often have a great deal of their assets tied up in debts which will also have to be fairly divided. The farmer who keeps the property most often ends up dealing with those debts in the future, but that should be taken into account when buying out a spouse.

We work closely with valuation professionals who can help evaluate the true worth of your farm, livestock, and equipment. This can ensure that any deal you put together is truly fair, and does not disadvantage you later. 

How does spousal support and child support work in a farm divorce?

Maintenance payments can be difficult in a farm divorce. Farm income is extremely unpredictable. If your income is not calculated in an advantageous way you could end up with support payments that are far too difficult to handle in many years.

At times we can work this out with a lump sum spousal support payment and perhaps a lump sum child support payment as well. In some cases we can get your child support income calculated on a larger average than the courts would otherwise use.

Remember until a divorce case goes to trial, maintenance payments and how income is calculated are negotiable points. We work hard to create a settlement that you can live with, and try to keep you out of court. Judges do not often have a good understanding of the unique needs of farmers. When trial is inevitable, we work hard to ensure judges see your case as we do. 

What kind of options do divorcing farmers have?

As business lawyers as well as divorce lawyers, we’ve been able to help our clients in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Buy-out agreements
  • Structured buy-outs
  • Restructuring debts
  • Liquidating non-essential assets
  • Advising on when it is time to send assets to auction
  • Non-controlling dividend agreements 

It takes more than writing the shareholder spouse a check. 

“In most situations, one partner continues farming while the other partner leaves, thus prompting some sort of buyout. That’s where things get complicated, because the corporation is designed to have all components in place and fully functional. Writing a cheque for the amount of half the total assets isn’t always easy. The partner who remains on the farm will take over all the shares in the corporation, then use the equity in the assets to take on more debt to do a buyout of the spouse who’s leaving. It might be one large cheque for the total amount, but often it’s structured over a period of four or five years, provided there’s security in place to protect the spouse who’s not going to continue farming.” –Producer.com

We also offer solutions for farmers who can’t leverage enough equity for a buyout.

Do farmers need prenups?

We absolutely recommend farmers get prenuptials or post nuptials as soon as they can. A prenuptial agreement can save your farm business before your relationship turns acrimonious. 

A prenuptial agreement can offer options for a cash buyout in advance, or can even put a structured five, ten, or fifteen year buyout into place before a divorce ever happens. This can prevent a situation where the farm is under stress, as the deal can be structured to be well within a farmer’s capability at a time when both partners still love each other. 

Emotions create more problems in a farm divorce than any other; a prenuptial lets you get the business side of the agreement out of the way fast. You are in business together, so you might as well acknowledge that fact and treat your marriage like the financial partnership that it is. 

Rest assured that without a prenuptial agreement it is entirely possible for a spouse to take a farm that has been in the family for years. It does not matter whose name the property is in, and the history of the property won’t matter much either if it hasn’t been properly protected. 

When your spouse becomes a shareholder and marital property gets commingled there is often no way to protect it.  A prenuptial can lock in the land, the house, and even your equipment as yours, as premarital property. While it might not defend every last expansion you undergo or farm you acquire in mergers or acquisitions, it can save your inheritance. In addition, a prenuptial agreement might even allow for an alternative arrangement, such as paying the spouse a reasonable salary for duties undertaken on the farm, instead of making them a shareholder. 

Remember that a prenuptial agreement can always be modified if it no longer suits the needs of the family or reflects the reality of the farm. 

See: Vancouver Mandarin Chinese Speaking Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer.

Get Help Today

Few divorce lawyers in Canada have as much experience with farm divorces as we do. In addition, we have a background in real estate and business law, which gives us a breadth of options and understanding that can help us draft sophisticated legal solutions to tough farm divorce problems. 

Chinese Lawyer Vancouver serves clients in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, and White Rock. Call to set up an appointment today.

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