Question: My husband and I are in a terrible bind over our daughter and the farm we are about to leave to her. We have three children who are all grown up now and she is the only child who has always been really interested in the farm.
She helped us with administration, came home at weekends and helped find labor when we needed her as she had a good job in Dublin and was only able to help out occasionally.
However, during Covid, she and her husband were both able to work from home, so they moved back here, to our house. It made perfect sense as they were renting in Dublin and it meant extra help for us on the farm and around the house.
We have decided to start the process of transferring it to her through an agricultural partnership, which needs to be done and dusted before she turns 35, which is two years from now.
However, since she and her husband moved in with us, we have been concerned about their relationship. We are both concerned that their marriage will not last.
Her husband, who seems to be blinding her, is just not a good person for her. Since Covid he’s semi-moved back to town, pacing and staying overnight a lot. I know she’s not happy about this as she doesn’t seem to know where he lives.
She has made some comments to us that things are not good between them but I am afraid to bring it up with her in case it sparks a fight.
Anyway, she gave up the farm work with us, which she is good at, and tried to do her job.
But I’m more worried about the ramifications of a breakup or divorce.
As part of the farm partnership, we were supposed to have a new house built, a bungalow, and they would take over the farmhouse. But with rising construction and labor costs, that plan appears to have been put on hold.
Marriage failure is difficult, and after children, if any, the division of wealth is the greatest concern. This is especially true for farming families where a farm has been passed down for generations and there is concern that part of the family farm may be lost due to a legal separation or divorce.
In the beginning there is the misconception that a spouse is automatically entitled to half of the farm in the event of a divorce. While this may be the case in some situations, it is not the case in all cases and the outcome of a family law proceeding will depend on the specific circumstances of each case.
I wonder why you have to give her the farm now. Is it possible to wait until closer to when she turns 35 to see how her marriage pans out?
It is advisable to start the transfer process at least six months before the date by which the transfer must be completed so that both sides can obtain legal and tax advice. Even taking this into account, you have over a year to see if her marriage is improving or deteriorating before you transfer any assets to her.
If you decide to wait to transfer the property until it is closer to the 35th
However, taxes should not be the only reason for transferring a property at any given time – you should consider all the circumstances.
Generally in family law cases, the courts are reluctant to divide a family farm, especially when the farm has been in the family for generations and has been inherited/donated by one party with the intent that it will eventually be passed on to their successors, and whether there are alternative options to take appropriate precautions.
Other factors include how long your daughter and her husband have been married, or whether he has worked or invested money in the family farm.
It would be wise for both you and your daughter to consult your solicitors and accountants for specific advice before making any decision about transferring ownership to them.
Deirdre Flynn comes from a farming background and practices law in Tralee
The information in this article is intended as a general guide only. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, Deirdre Flynn accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions howsoever arising.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/legal-advice/we-want-to-transfer-our-farm-to-our-daughter-but-we-dont-trust-her-husband-what-happens-if-they-get-divorced-42002239.html We want to hand over our farm to our daughter, but we don’t trust her husband. What happens if they get divorced?