NSW Do I have any rights during a parent's divorce?

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Farmer30

Member
5 May 2020
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Hi,

I've devoted my entire life to helping to run and manage the family farm with the promise of inheriting the farm and keeping it in the family.
Half the farm business assets have very recently been put in trust to me, my father still owns the land.
I've discovered my father now is getting divorced from his latest wife and has been issued with a family court notice.
Do I have any rights during the property settlement to claim what has been promised to me or will I possibly lose everything i've devoted my whole life towards?

thanks in advance!!
 

Farmer30

Member
5 May 2020
3
0
1
Thanks for replying! They got married in 2001. I meant latest because she’s the latest of his 3 wives. He’s honestly a horrible man, he abused my mother and has major control issues. I’ve put up with him because I love working on the farm and felt like I was working towards a future for my family. I was told that if I put the work in, I would inherit the farm.

I’m just really worried... if we loose the farm my family (wife and kids) will loose our only income, home and future.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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Generally family farms are given special consideration in family law....

1) How long has the farm been in the family?
2) Does the wife have (or had) employment outside the farm.... Any skills?
3) What were her main duties on the farm?
4) is she a member of any family trusts?
5) Did they have any children together... ages?
6) How long have they been separated?
 

Farmer30

Member
5 May 2020
3
0
1
There are 2 farms, one has been in the family for over 100 years and the other was purchased in from money gained from selling a property that was also in The family for over 100 years.
She didn’t work on the farm or have any farm skills.
She worked casually off the farm, in town.
Not a member of the family trust.
They have no kids together. ( got married in their 50’s)
She moved to the city and wanted him to go with her.
He was traveling to the city on weekends and working on the farm during the weeks, but he has been on the farm since the virus because travel is restricted.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
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Sydney
Half the farm business assets recently put in trust...
This seems like a DIY attempt by your Dad to manipulate the asset pool
in respect of the imminent divorce.

You need case specific legal advice.
Given the nature of the business, I'd be asking questions about the existence (or not) of an equitable interest in the farm on your part.
I'd also be wanting to closely examine the nature of the business relationship here... Could it be that you are in fact partners?
Lots of farmers don't own the land they work - such as when the farm is owned by a trustee company....
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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259
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Do I have any rights during the property settlement to claim what has been promised to me

A testamentary promise to inherit can not be taken into consideration..... Also regardless of the fact that 50% of assets have been put in trust, those assets will still likely form part of the asset pool under consideration for division. That said, if the trust is in your name, then you *should* be able to apply to become a party to proceedings as you have an equitable interest (in the assets included in trust at least). That means that your interest needs to be taken into consideration when deciding what should happen to those assets...

Your dad will need some sound legal advice on just what may constitute a fair & just division, but in family law, all initial contributions are given 'weight' in determining what may be fair & just, & farms that have been in a family for generations are given extra weight in favour of the contributor, even more so if they are the only means of income... So all that may well go in his favour. Other factors such as no kids, separate work/income for her, already of retirement age etc are all things that may help reduce her split...