There is strong support among farmers to make pre-nuptial agreements legally binding in Ireland, an agricultural solicitor has said.

Speaking at a webinar on succession, agricultural solicitor Aisling Meehan said, from her experience, farmers and their families would be in favour of strengthening the legal position of pre-nups in this country.

“Pre-nuptial and cohabitant agreements, they’re there in practice. I don’t come across a whole pile of it, because pre-nups don’t have legally binding force. Although there’s huge appetite among farmers and farm families that it would be legally binding, that’s just something that has to be lobbied for,” she said. In Ireland, pre-nuptial agreements have no basis in law and, as a result, are not strictly binding.


Meehan added that, in what is an unusual legal situation, cohabitants in Ireland can sign a legally binding agreement similar to a pre-nup.

“Cohabitants can do a type of pre-nuptial agreement, which is legally binding. Again, it defies belief,” she said.

The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 allows for a “cohabitants’ agreement” to provide for financial matters during the relationship or when the relationship ends.

An Irish Farmers Journal survey conducted last autumn found 40% of farmers to be in favour of pre-nuptial agreements.

Four in 10 farmers would advise a fellow farmer getting married to consider having a pre-nup, the survey of 2,000 farmers revealed.