If you’re one of Minnesota’s nearly 80,000 farmers, you face unique joys and challenges in all aspects of life — including marriage and divorce. While there’s no such thing as an easy divorce, the process can be particularly complicated when shared agricultural property and equipment are at stake. Keep the following considerations in mind as you proceed:

Valuing the Property

Property valuation is an integral component of any divorce. Unfortunately, farms and ranch values are uniquely difficult to pinpoint. A farm’s value includes not only real estate, but also equipment, livestock, and more. Because valuation is so complicated, each spouse often relies on a separate appraiser.

Dividing Debts

FarmFutures reports a five percent annual increase in farm debt since 2004. Dividing that debt can be complicated, particularly if one spouse was involved in the farming business before marriage.

Equitable Distribution and Separate Versus Married Property

As in most states, Minnesota courts divide shared property equitably. These means that one spouse may come away with a greater share of property than the other. Application of equitable distribution may differ in farm divorces, however — especially for a family farm passed down through inheritance.

Creative Solutions

Some farming couples pursue mediation or collaboration in hopes of achieving a mutually beneficial outcome. If one spouse is more involved in the farming business, that person may come away with both farm property and debt, while the other may receive retirement assets, other property, or a lump sum. Some spouses waive property in exchange for larger alimony payments. Others choose to sell their farm and start fresh with equally divided proceeds. Additional solutions include long-term payouts or farmland rental.

No one approach works for every farming couple. With a spirit of cooperation and counsel from the right attorney, it’s possible for both spouses to thrive after divorce.

As a Minnesota farmer, you need advice from an attorney who understands the ins and outs of divorce in your home state. The Brown Law Offices, P.A. can help. Reach out today to learn about next steps in your divorce.

You’re ready to divorce, but not necessarily to fight in a courtroom with your ex. If you’re hoping for an alternative to court, you may be a viable candidate for mediation. This process involves a neutral third party, who helps you and your ex make key decisions regarding child custody, spousal maintenance, property division, and more.

Why Mediation?

Although not always the best option, mediation often allows couples to escape the downsides of litigation divorce. Sometimes, issues can be resolved more quickly and at a lower cost. Many couples dread the formal nature of courtroom proceedings, and prefer something a bit more laid-back.

Mediation Etiquette: Rules to Follow to Keep Mediation As Productive As Possible

You and your spouse need not maintain a particularly friendly relationship to prove successful in mediation. You must, however, agree to follow certain etiquette guidelines to keep the process as drama-free as possible. For example:

  • No name-calling or emotional abuse in any form
  • Take turns speaking—no interrupting when the other person is talking
  • Listen to and try to appreciate your ex’s perspective, even if you disagree
  • Acknowledge your ex’s right to have a different opinion
  • Be open-minded regarding creative solutions to your divorce disagreements

What If Mediation Is Not For Me?

Mediation can prove an effective and affordable alternative for many couples, but it’s not ideal for everybody. This approach is particularly problematic for couples in which a power imbalance still exists. For example, a spouse previously abused by the other party may struggle to stand up for him or herself in mediation. In such situations, the abused spouse requires assertive representation from a trusted family attorney.

If you’re not sure whether mediation is the right approach, contact a trusted attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you determine the best next steps for your divorce — mediation or otherwise. If you proceed with mediation, your lawyer can serve as outside counsel and provide a valuable perspective.

Contact Brown Law Offices, P.A. to learn how a skilled Minnesota attorney’s involvement could improve your prospects in mediation or a collaborative divorce.

You’ve moved into a new apartment, signed divorce papers and begun referring to yourself as single. Why, then, does your divorce still feel incomplete? Turns out, your work may not be finished until you grant your ex genuine forgiveness. This may be easier said than done, but it’s absolutely worth the effort. Read on to learn why:

Why Forgiveness Helps Us Heal

Forgiveness prompts tremendous health benefits, both immediately and far into the future. A noteworthy study from Hope College indicates that even brief rumination on a past transgression can immediately increase blood pressure, heart rate and sweating. Angry rumination—equated to unforgiveness—also prompts anxiety. When asked to empathize with the transgressor, however, most people experience reduced physical arousal.

In another study, those who rated their relationships as terrible suffered higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They also scored lower in regards to their willingness to forgive. Those happy to forgive rated their relationships higher and experienced reduced cortisol levels.

How to Practice Forgiveness After Divorce

The exercise highlighted above could be key to achieving full forgiveness, no matter your spouse’s transgressions. Take a few moments to direct your thoughts to your ex’s behavior. Instead of playing the blame game, express empathy for his or her situation. You can acknowledge that your ex made poor decisions while still demonstrating compassion.

Additionally, it may help to pinpoint the lessons in your difficult experience. What did your ex-spouse’s behavior teach you about choosing a partner and maintaining a positive relationship? Could your previous turmoil have made you more resilient or empathetic? Think of yourself as one step closer to living a truly rewarding life, whether as a satisfied single or with a new romantic partner.

Don’t grant forgiveness merely for the sake of your ex or your kids (although doing so can make life easier for all family members). Do it for yourself. If you acknowledge the physical and mental health benefits of forgiveness, you’ll find it easier to grant it to a former spouse.

As you make progress on your path to forgiveness, let us assist you with the other complications of divorce. Contact the Brown Law Offices, P.A. at your earliest convenience to schedule a case consultation.

 

 

Written by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury in 1981, the bestselling book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In has become a go-to resource for working through challenging negotiations. As it turns out, the “getting to yes” methodology can also be very helpful in mediating difficult divorce agreements. Below are some key insights that we can apply to divorce negotiations, based on the book’s five-point method.

1. Separate the people from the problem

When you view your ex as “the problem” or vice versa, negotiating a settlement becomes much more difficult. In truth, there are specific issues between you that are causing the split—not any one person. Focusing on the issues rather than placing blame takes you much further toward a solution that works for both.

2. Focus on interests, not positions

When you simply take opposing positions in a disagreement, one person “wins” while the other “loses.” Instead, try focusing on the interests of each person: what do you want in a settlement? What does your ex want? Is there any position you could take that could serve both interests?

3. Generate options for mutual gain

Once you’ve identified each person’s interests in the divorce, start imagining a number of alternatives in which both people stand to gain, turning a win-lose into a win-win scenario. This is key to turning combat into negotiation because both of your interests are now being served.

4. Insist on objective criteria

When contemplating the alternative solutions, you must base the consideration on an objective set of criteria. This is the more difficult part of the negotiation, because both parties will likely give up something they want. Here is where a neutral mediator can be most useful because he/she has no emotional investment in the solution.

5. Know your “BATNA”

Should negotiations fail or you find yourself losing too much ground, your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is your baseline or safety net—the “worst case scenario” or default course of action you must take if you can’t come to agreement. Knowing your BATNA gives you a fair point of leverage in negotiations as the low point that both parties wish to avoid, helping you both stay motivated to come up with a better solution in the divorce agreement.

We’ve all heard of the “seven-year itch.” It’s the time when couples get bored in a relationship and crave something new. Is there any credence to this idea, or is it just another old wives’ tale? Leading experts in human psychology say there’s no simple answer.

Austrian philosopher and Rudolf Steiner created the “seven-year itch” theory. He theorized that we experience life in seven-year cycles. We experience seismic changes in physical and intellectual experience. We’re more likely to have instability in our relationships and divorce. The theory was so popular that it led to the production of a Marilyn Monroe movie of the same name in 1955.

Some think the seven-year itch is the result of raising children through the infant years. It’s a time that takes a toll on the relationship. Others think it’s simply the average time those annoying habits become intolerable.

The Which Year Itch?

Wright State University psychology professor Larry Kurdek conducted a study in 1999 that found both the four- and seven-year itch may be true. It concluded that couples tended to experience two periods of decreased marital quality: once at the four-year mark and another at the seven-year mark. Parents of young children were more likely to experience a rapid decrease in marital quality.

Another study in 2010 found that couples were most likely to divorce at the 12-year mark. The study analyzed information from 90 law firms. It found that most couples spent a decade together before going their separate ways.

Then the parenting website Netmums conducted a survey in 2012 that examined the relationship between parents. Nearly half of the 1,500 respondents said that having a child drove them apart. Parents were most likely to split at the three-year mark as opposed to the seven-year mark. The website’s founder hypothesized that ticking biological clocks rushed couples into marriage. The couples later realized that they weren’t right for one another.

So Who’s Right?

The mixed results of each study indicate that divorce can happen at any age. Couples who don’t prioritize their marriages are more likely to divorce than those who do. Your relationship may fall apart if you don’t spend time working on it.

Ending a marriage at any stage touches off an emotional storm and raises lots of legal questions. Call a compassionate, seasoned Minnesota divorce lawyer today at 763-323-6555 for a private consultation.

Divorce can get ugly without the complications of travel. However, if you travel a lot for business, and you find yourself involved in a divorce, you could find yourself under heavy stress. Here are five ways you can deal with your divorce and extensive business travel.

1.    Plunge ahead – If there are no children or pets involved, you could easily get away with traveling for your job. Whether you are an entrepreneur or business owner, a high-level executive, or you simply work in an occupation that requires travel (airline pilot, for instance), there is no need to change your lifestyle if your divorce won’t affect anyone but you and your spouse.

2.    Cut back on the travel – On the other hand, if you could lose custody of your children, or you are afraid your spouse may end up with custody more often, then you could strategically curb your trips. This is the course of action many entrepreneurs have taken. Being the owner of a business can be an advantage. If you’re an employee, check with your boss to see if this is an option.

3.    Change careers – If cutting back on the hours is not an option, and you want to ensure that you have joint custody of the children with your spouse, consider making an abrupt move, like changing careers or radically rethinking your position. Look for something that doesn’t require travel.

4.    Change your travel destinations – If possible, try to alter your travel destinations so that you aren’t away from home as often or for shorter periods of time. If you’re a truck driver, for instance, you might ask to make shorter runs or handle more local routes.

5.    Negotiate with your spouse – Many spouses will work with their former partners for the benefit of future relations and the sake of the children. Talk it out.