How a pre-nup agreement can save the farm
Jack and Aoife are engaged to be married next autumn. Jack (35) has just taken over the family 100-acre dairy farm and farm house from his parents.
Aoife (32) is a primary school teacher - she has just been made principal in the local school. They plan to live in the farmhouse as Jack's parents have bought a new house away from the farm. The land is all in one block with very little road frontage. Aoife has an apartment in the local town, which she plans to let out.
They have decided to put a pre-nuptial agreement in place before their wedding. This example only considers the division of assets; the agreement would also cover other issues such as maintenance, custody, etc.
Jack is worth €1.5m and Aoife €100,000 when loans are deducted from their individual assets; this is called their Net Worth (see Table 1 and Table 2).
If, for example, Jack and Aoife have two children, experience marital difficulties after say 15 years of marriage and decide to separate/divorce, we look at how a pre-nuptial agreement might be of benefit in their case. In a family matter like this, both sides usually engage legal representation - ie, solicitor, barrister and agricultural consultant/valuer.
Negotiations between the parties are conducted, resulting in an agreement or not. If the parties cannot agree, the case will be heard in court and the presiding judge will make an order which will include a division of Net Worth.
Let's assume the judge decided a 60:40 spilt of Net Worth between Jack and Aoife.