When George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin, he did so without the benefit of a pre-nuptial agreement. This was a gamble worth $220 million and one that very few A-list celebrities take. The cynic in us say he is a very brave man, the romantics say it must be true love! Today we look at pre-nuptial agreements in Ireland.

Pre-nuptial Agreements Ireland

As with most celebrity couples it was assumed that a water-tight pre-nuptial agreement would be put in place, however George’s wife-to-be is a highly respected attorney so perhaps this is how the issue was avoided. We must assume that Clooney has considered the impact this will have should there be a future divorce, particularly because he has played the part of a divorce attorney is one of his movies.

In Ireland, these are not yet recognised and have unfortunately lead to a slowing down in the land transfer process and has particularly impacted on young farmers. The reality is, marriage breakups happen, it’s a fact of life and an increasingly regular occurrence in modern Ireland. We need to recognise prenuptial agreements to protect both parties involved in a marriage.

What we are seeing more regularly here in Ireland is the reluctance of older generations to transfer land to younger generations in the fear that they will loose the land should the marriage break down. Unfortunately this has a very real impact on younger farmers and can result in stagnation of the farm or the land.

The Irish Farmers Association has long been advocating for the recognition of prenuptial agreements under Irish law. This lobbying is not without good reason and at the heart of its purpose is to protect generational family owned land from being sold or divided between parties due to the breakdown of a marriage.

The Irish Farmers Association is asking that farmers be permitted to draft contracts prior to getting married to protect the family farm for future generations and ensure it remains whole should a divorce occur. These contracts would make clear the assets owned by each party prior to the marriage taking place. We strongly believe that pre-nups would greatly assist the legal process in the division of assets following the breakdown of a marriage and would reduce costs to all parties, the judicial system and the state.

There’s a perception in Ireland that prenuptial agreements are only for A-list Hollywood celebrities, this couldn’t be further from the truth and will only serve to benefit and protect those entering into marriage.

Pre-nuptial Agreement Lawyer Cork and Midleton

Another important point to note is that the age of marriage has greatly increased over the last two decades here in Ireland. This has resulted in the accumulation of more assets prior to marriage and these assets need to be protected. Often, we find that one or both parties have inherited property, businesses and estates or items that have been passed down from generation to generation. A prenuptial agreement, drawn up with both parties in mind will set out clearly the division of these assets upon divorce and will put minds at ease. There is not a set format for a prenuptial agreement, so a contract can be tailored and drafted for each couple in a unique and thoughtful manner. Should a couple decide to divorce, all assets attained prior to the marriage will remain the property of the individual. This document will also set out the division of any assets attained during the marriage.

There is no limit or minimum value amount placed on assets that can be listed in a prenuptial agreement. Small items, valuable items, income, pensions, stocks, shares, savings, land and property can all be accounted for. It is important to note that only items with a financial value can be listed in the pre-nup, it can not be used to make arrangements for the custody of children.

A well written pre-nup can provide both parties with an extra sense of security prior to entering into marriage and will protect any existing wealth, savings or inheritance for the future. Where one or both individuals have been previously married, a prenup is particularly effective for protecting the inheritance of children from previous relationships.

Prenuptial Agreements Cork, Midleton and Dublin

Whilst Irish law does not currently recognise pre-nuptial agreements, there is hope that this will not always be the case. In a case of divorce, a judge will examine each case based on the unique circumstances and may take it into account.

If you and your partner would like to draft a pre-nuptial agreement, it is vitally important that the document is written by a professional legal expert with experience in the field. This document should be reviewed at regular intervals, particularly when or if you start a family. We advise that you talk candidly about a pre-nuptial agreement at least 6 months prior to your wedding. A full and frank disclosure of all assets is necessary to ensure a water-tight document. The agreement can be signed and then you can get on with the important things, putting it behind you and enjoying your life together.

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