Pre-nuptial agreements are entered into by parties who seek to regulate their affairs in the event of a breakdown of a marriage. The agreements are not strictly entered into by wealthy people; we at Mangan & Company Solicitors draft and advise on pre-nuptial agreements for people from a variety of financial backgrounds.
Pre-Nuptial Agreements are not officially recognised in Ireland but neither are they illegal. Such agreements whilst not binding on a Family Law Court may be considered by the Judge in determining the division of assets between a separating/divorcing couple, who entered into a pre-nuptial agreement before their marriage. Pre-nuptial agreements can serve as a guide for the distribution of assets as long as the Judge considers that the agreement was entered into in a transparent and fair manner, that full financial disclosure was made by both parties prior to entering into the agreement and that both parties interests are reflected in the agreement.
Whether you are rich and famous or a person of more modest means there are still good and persuasive reasons for considering a pre-nuptial agreement. For example, people entering into a second marriage who have children of their first marriage may quite sensibly wish to protect assets for those children. People with inherited or acquired wealth entering into a marriage may be quite happy to share marital assets built up in the course of the marriage with their spouse but may wish to protect their inheritance/wealth. The issue of pre-nuptial agreements arises often in relation to family run businesses.
To ensure that a Pre-Nuptial agreement will be considered favourably by a judge if ever required it is very important that each side have time to consider the terms of the proposals prior to signing. In this regard most practitioners feel that three months is the optimum time period for such consideration. Also, there should be a full disclosure of all assets by both parties so that the agreement can be drafted as fairly as possible. Finally, both parties must receive independent legal advice.