Wednesday 26 July 2017

Polar opposites: Two young farmers' attitudes to a pre-nup

'Personally I wouldn't even entertain the thought of a pre-nuptial agreement," says young farmer Eric Driver from Co Carlow.

"Marriage is supposed to be a bond between two people for life and it shouldn't be about looking at what each person has in assets," he insists.

"Talk of a pre-nup would sow the seeds of doubt going into a marriage and personally, I wouldn't like to see my partner going down that road," he says. "In fact, I would be very concerned if she mentioned it."

Eric describes his attitude to marriage as "all or nothing", in which the couple should work as one unit, both in their personal relationship but also in running the farm as a unified business.

"The principle of marriage is that you love the other person, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer," he insists. "There is no other foundation on which I would enter marriage.

"When I get married, my farm and my stock will become our farm and our stock," he says. "The other thing to bear in mind is that young farmers getting married might have a farm in their name but they are also often borrowed up to the hilt," he adds.

Seamus* and his girlfriend Marie* are both from farming families and both are very open to the idea of pre-nuptial agreements.

"If pre-nuptial agreements were legalised, it would increase the transfer of land from the older generation," says Seamus.

"The last thing any farmer wants to do is split the farm," he says. "All he wants is to do the best for his children.

"More and more people of my age are looking into the idea of a pre-nup," he says. "Even my own mother has said that pre-nups should be legalised."

Marie is equally conscious of the fear of losing the farm.

"I've seen how hard my parents worked on our farm and how it provided for my family," she says. "If a couple is not meant to be, then each of them should go their own way. Marriage shouldn't be about getting more out than you went in with."

* Names have been changed.

Irish Independent

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