Farmers who sign prenuptial agreements are more likely to have worked off-farm in a profession and are less coy about discussing the value of the farm, a leading mediation expert has said.

“They might be coming back to the farm having been a vet, a consultant or accountant,” Clare O’Keeffe from Succession Ireland explained.

“Prenups are more spoken about in the professional world and they know the value of both the farm and the off-farm income.”

In her work as a mediator, she regularly comes across couples who have signed prenups, even though the documents do not currently have legal standing in Ireland.

She is in favour of prenups, noting that it means that the couple has already discussed and valued their shared and individual assets and planned what should happen in the event of the relationship breaking down.


Acknowledging that how assets should be divided is a difficult discussion to have, “it’s far easier to have it when you’re in love rather than when things are falling apart”.

Signing a prenup means “there is more clarity and less emotional trauma” involved, O’Keeffe said.

She said that while couples may not stick to the exact terms of the original agreement, due to changed circumstances, the general thrust has already been decided.

She also noted a growing number of prenups signed by older couples marrying much later in life, who are keen to protect their own assets.

O’Keeffe was reacting to a recent Irish Farmers Journal survey which found that 40% of farmers would recommend a prenuptial agreement to their peers getting married.

  • The mediator is joining Teagasc’s series of Transferring the Family Farm Clinics this month. The next events take place this Thursday 5 October at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny at 10am and on Monday 9 October at the Landmark Hotel in Leitrim at 10am.