Can separation be amicable on the farm?


I am a full time farmer with three teenage children, two in school and one in college. My wife and I are having marital difficulties, and I recently moved out of the family home.

The children continue to live with my wife, who works full time. I am happy that the children continue to live with my wife in the family home until they finish school or college, and I can get approval.

What are my legal options here?

dear reader,

I am sorry to hear of your marital difficulties. First, I advise you to consider entering into marriage counseling.

It is also worth noting that the Legal Aid Board offers a mediation service, which may be beneficial to take advantage of. Regarding your legal options, the following may be considered:

  • A separation agreement, which is basically a legally binding contract where the two parties agree to live separately.
  • Judicial separation, which is a request to the court for legal separation. Usually, this is done when the couple has been living apart for a year, but there are also other reasons. The court can make orders regarding the family home and other assets, child support, custody and access. However, if one of the spouses wishes to remarry in the future, a judicial separation will not be sufficient and a divorce decree will be required.
  • divorce. Divorce is the dissolution of marriage, and before issuing a divorce judgment, provisions relating to alimony, pensions, and distribution of assets and children or other dependents must be agreed or ordered, and it must be proven that there is no hope for that. reconciliation between the two parties. It is also necessary that the spouses have lived apart for two of the past three years. This does not necessarily mean that they lived in separate homes, but rather that they did not have an intimate and committed relationship during this period.

In terms of divorce separation, it is possible for the parties to agree on matters by consent through negotiation, but if they are not in a position to do so and cannot agree on matters, then the matter must be ruled by a judge who can make a number of decisions. The system including the following:

  • A property modification order is that the property is to be sold or transferred.
  • Alimony, which is the maintenance of the children or the wife.
  • Custody and access orders.
  • Pension adjustment orders, which are orders relating to pension benefits.

With regard to your obligations to your spouse and children, the court is required to ensure that suitable arrangements are made for all parties.

Factors they will consider here include the earning capacity and assets of each spouse, standard of living, housing needs, and their contribution to the marriage and family.

The parties have to exchange documents in respect of their means which are called affidavits of means, and in respect of children, a document called a affidavit of welfare.

In relation to your situation, the court will likely order you to pay child support for as long as they remain dependent, which is 18 or 23 if they remain in full-time education.

In terms of access, it would be useful to consider joint custody with the possibility of it being agreed upon between you.

In respect of your assets, the courts will have to consider each of the means available to you when ensuring adequate savings, but as farming is your livelihood they are unlikely to order the sale of the farm but may make an order in respect of the family home.

I recommend engaging an attorney before initiating any separation or divorce proceedings.

Stephen Coppinger is a practicing solicitor at Walsh & Partners Solicitors, 17 South Mall, Cork, and 88 Main Street, Midleton, Co Cork. Walsh & Partners also specializes in personal injury, conveyance, probate and family law claims.

e-mail: info@walshandpartners.ie

Web: www.walshandpartners.ie

  • While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, Walsh & Partners does not accept liability for errors or omissions howsoever caused. Readers should seek legal advice regarding their particular circumstances at the earliest opportunity.


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