“A prenuptial agreement,  commonly abbreviated to prenup  is a contract entered into prior to marriage or  civil union . The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and maintenance  in the event of divorce or breakup of  the marriage. They may also include terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of divorce on the grounds of adultery; Further conditions about children may be included as well.

While nobody wants to consider this before a couple are getting married their parents may think differently.  Here is a simple guide for the main things to look out for.

  1. Both parties must be independently advised .  If both parties are not independently advised the agreement will fall, even if the independent advice for the other party has to be paid for by the party with the assets.
  2. Be honest and fair.  You have to discover all your assets and not be hiding something.
  3. This must all be done in a calm period and not in the lead up to a wedding . Otherwise you run the risk of  a claim one party was pressurised (undue influence) into signing.   If somebody wishes to upset the contents of the agreement at a future date.
  4. Agreements should be revised if they are still in existence when children come along or there are lifestyle changes.
  5. Some clauses will not work such as “not to gain weight” or to “retain membership of a certain religion”.
  6. If it is unfair to either party it won’t stand up at a hearing.  Ireland does not recognise pre-nuptial agreements officially but Judges do take them into consideration if the parties have completed them in good faith prior to the marriage for a particular reason.   As the IFA  the farmers representative Body  are pressing for changes in this area farmland   is the most common matter that they are now used for.
  7. Finally remember the following details.  When was it signed?  Where was it signed?  Under what condition was it signed?

We have prepared Pre-Nuptial Agreements and Co-Habitation Agreements for clients to protect assets and outline the arrangement in the event of a breakup of a relationship or marriage.

Consult us if you wish to seek advice in this area.