I had a farm case like that very recently, and it had just those issues where my client was a peach farmer and he wanted to continue farming. His wife was going to take part of the land and be the one in charge of developing it. In most of the farm cases, there are multiple parcels of land. What we typically do in a divorce situation is we divide up the parcels of land. A lot of times, one of the people, let’s say it’s the farmer husband, has had the land in his family for generations. It’s tough. It’s kind of gut wrenching for that farmer to have to divide up land that has been in his family for generations.
Typically, if they have children together, the thought would be that the spouse – the wife – would eventually, when she passes, give the property back to the children, and it would be back in the family. That’s one kind of silver lining. In terms of valuing land for development in that case, it takes a lot of money to develop farmland. There was a road in that case that needed to be built before anyone would consider purchasing this property as a developed property. That road itself was going to cost $1,000,000. We ended up valuing the property as it was right then and there because that’s what the value was. There was going to be a lot of expense put into getting that land ready for development.
The farmer was able to keep the major parcels that his peach farm was on. I think we got a very good solution for that family. Every case is different. But it sort of depends on development of how far along are you in the process and what kinds of costs are there going to be going forward when you talk about how we’re going to value this property.
Laura Schantz, a Beaverton divorce and family lawyer and mediator has helped clients find creative solutions to complex financial matters involving asset division, spousal support, and child support. To learn more about Laura Schantz and her firm, visit www.oregondivorceattorney.com.