Will the Courts take a Pre-Nuptial Agreement in to consideration in Family Law Proceedings?

While the Family Law Courts are not obliged to take the contents of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement in to consideration in Family Law Proceedings, there is nothing preventing them from doing so. Indeed in more and more circumstances the Courts are taking into account the contents of Pre-Nuptial Agreements and using them as a guide in the distribution of assets.

 

So what is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement? A Pre- Nuptial or Anti-Nuptial Agreement is a contract entered into by two individuals prior to them getting married, which make provision for financial and property matters and other issues, following the breakdown of the marriage. These agreements can cover a wide range of issues such as lump sum payments, pensions, maintenance and succession rights.

 

It must be remembered that there is no legal basis for Pre-Nuptial Agreements in Irish law and that they are therefore not enforceable. That said, it is likely that the Court will give some consideration to a properly drafted Pre –Nuptial Agreement which satisfies the following criteria:

 

  1. That the agreement is in writing.
  2. That the agreement is signed and witnessed
  3. That both parties to the agreement have obtained independent legal advice
  4. That there has been a full disclosure by both parties of all assets, liabilities and financial information.
  5. That both parties sign an acknowledgement that the agreement is legally binding.
  6. That both parties have been given time to consider the agreement and its contents. Ideally not less than 12 weeks.
  7. That the agreement was not entered into less than 28 days before the couple intend to marry.
  8. That neither party were put under any undue influence.
  9. The agreement should contain a review clause, so the agreement is reviewed every five years, after the birth of any children or when there has be a sufficient change in the family or either parties financial circumstances

 

Post-Nuptial Agreements can also be entered into by married couples, but again if you wish the Family Law Courts to give them any consideration they should satisfy the above criteria.

 

For further information on Pre-Nuptial Agreements or indeed any aspect of Family Law, please do not hesitate to contact Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors on 045 897784 or at info@hanahoeandhanahoe.com.

 

This article is merely for information purposes only and is not and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have any queries in relation to this or any other Family Law matter, you should consult with a solicitor who specialises in Family Law. No solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature exists between Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors, until you receive written confirmation that we are acting as solicitors on your behalf.