How the land gets handled in a ‘farm divorce’

It’s common in a divorce for real estate to be one of the most valuable things subject to division under Minnesota law. But unlike the family home, a farm is more than a place to live and raise children. It is your livelihood, or at least a major contributor to the household income. You and your spouse likely both have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into your farm. So you both probably will claim a piece of it.

Minnesota is an equitable division state. When a couple gets divorced in this state, they must divide their marital assets (things they acquired during the marriage) fairly, not necessarily in a 50-50 split. Divorcing parties (and their attorneys) can work to negotiate a settlement that both sides can live with.


Of course, a farm is different than a bank account or record collection. It is a complex operation involving land, animals, tools and more. It is more challenging to divide farmland in two, though this could be an option. A more common solution is for one spouse to keep the farm and buy out their ex’s share. This can involve one spouse getting a lump sum in cash, a larger share of the retirement savings or some other compensation.


Before anything like this can happen, it is necessary to know exactly what your farm is worth. An accurate valuation of the land, livestock and implements is needed to know what each party’s financial interest in the farm is. Your attorney will know whom to contact to get an accurate and reliable valuation as a starting point for settlement negotiations.

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