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Clear as mud

Divorce settlements involving farmland are informed by strong case law, but they have tended to continually contradict themselves, warns Jane Keir

25 March 2015

The way that family law approaches and determines financial claims upon divorce has undergone seismic changes over the last 15 years. Prior to the House of Lords decision in White v White [2001] AC 596, the law applied a "reasonable needs and requirements" argument in order to determine the competing financial claims of a husband and wife on divorce.

It was in fact a farming case that brought about the change in favour of an equal division, when Mrs White took her financial claims all the way to the House of Lords.

Ironically however, an equal division of assets and wealth accumulated during a marriage is not always achievable for farmers, because of the need to preserve assets that were owned long before the marriage. Yet fairness still requires financial needs to be met. This article reflects on how judges have addres...

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