Q: I have been married for more than twenty years. At Christmas my wife admitted she had been having an affair for several years. She said she had stayed with me for the sake of our two children aged ten and fourteen. We had a blazing row and she left. Now she wants a divorce. My worry is that we own a farm and that is my livelihood. Will she be entitled to part of it if we divorce? Will I have to sell up?
A: You really need to seek advice from a solicitor as soon as possible. The solicitor will need to know the full proportional value of all assets built up during the marriage, including your farm buildings and the matrimonial home. Full financial disclosure of all assets, e.g. savings including pension provision, liabilities and income, will be required from both you and your wife before consideration can be given to potential claims your wife may make against the farm. The starting point is an equal division of the assets but the Courts have discretion to vary this if there is good reason to do so.
Depending on the level of your income generated from the farm she may not be entitled to maintenance from you if she is living with a new partner, but she may claim a lump sum, the transfer or sale of the matrimonial home and/or a pension sharing order in her favour. Consideration will be given to the input your wife has had in running the farm and how you came to acquire it. Whether you would be expected to sell part or all of the farm to provide financial capital to your wife will depend on the extent of the assets.