Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 18 January 2019

Farmers demand pre-nups

Record land prices drive owners to protect assets, our exclusive poll shows

THE majority of farmers want their future spouse to sign a pre-nuptial agreement in an effort to safeguard the future of the farm, a major survey has revealed.

Two- thirds of those surveyed said farmers should insist upon pre-nuptial agreements.

The survey of more than 1,000 people was carried out at the Farming Independent stand over the three days of the Ploughing Championships.

Just 33pc said farmers should not insist on pre- nuptial agreements.

Once seen as a document that only those marrying into the landed gentry were forced to sign, more and more farmers are now in favour of pre-nuptial agreements. Record land prices have resulted in many farmers going to extreme lengths to protect the land.

As expected, farmers with larger farms of land were more in favour of prenuptial agreements than those with smaller farms.

Some 72pc of farmers with more than 200ac believed farmers should insist on prenuptial agreement. By contrast, 63pc of those questioned with less than 100 acres felt farmers should opt for pre-nups. A total of 67pc of farmers with between 100- 200 acres were in favour of pre-nups.

Interestingly, the older the age of the farmer -- the more he/she was in favour of pre-nups. Younger farmers were less in favour on insisting that their spouse should sign a pre-nup.

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One couple said their son was going through a separation at present and it would have been good if they had had a pre-nuptial agreement in place before it happened.

"She is looking for a big pay-out and he'll probably have to sell some land to sort it out," the farmer said.

Another man marked a definite "yes" to the question, adding that it had cost him enough already this year to sort the farm out following his divorce. "If only I had the sense to get one beforehand," he commented.

However, a number of women who came into the stand took exception to the question saying they worked hard on the farm and contributed to its success and therefore deserved to be paid out of it -- if the marriage were to break up.

Some women said they brought as much to the farm as they got, with one woman saying she contributed more income to the farm than her husband ever did.

"The pre-nup should be protecting my assets -- not his," she argued.

Others had similar views saying they believed the whole concept of pre-nuptials will change with women now earning as much, if not more, than the men who are farming.

"Women will start demanding pre-nups, especially when they will bring as much assets to the marriage as the we have," one man said.