Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

IFA seeks pre-nup recognition

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

The IFA has embarked on a campaign to have pre-nuptial agreements recognised in Irish law in an effort to protect the family farm in the event of marriage breakdown.

IFA president John Bryan has written to the recently appointed Minister for Justice Alan Shatter urging him to make pre-nuptial agreements legally-binding documents.

The radical new approach would see a couple agreeing to complete an inventory of assets each person held before the marriage and agreeing that in the event of a divorce, each would be entitled to keep those original assets with any new ones divided between the couple.

For example, take a farmer who owned 100ac of land and a herd of 40 dairy cows before he/she got married to a salaried professional who owned a house.

During the course of their marriage, the pair bought an additional 50ac of land and built up the herd to 70 cows but they subsequently separated and divorced.

Under the IFA proposal, the divorce settlement would see the farmer retain his original 100ac and 40-cow herd and the professional retain his/her original house.

The additional 50ac of land and 30 cows or income from the extra cows would be split between the couple, since they were joint assets of the marriage.

IFA farm business chairman James Kane maintained that any agreement designed to keep a family farm intact through divorce would be seized upon by Irish farmers.

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