Review to explore legal recognition for pre-nuptial agreements

John Comer
ICMSA president John Comer

The Department of Justice is expected to shortly initiate a new review of pre-nuptial agreements and their legal status in Ireland.

It comes after a series of meetings between Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and farmers’ organisations, which are pushing for a clarification of the law against the background of an increasing divorce rate in rural Ireland.

An opinion poll jointly commissioned by the Irish Examiner and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has found 75 per cent of Irish farmers would support legislation to give legal recognition to pre-nuptial agreements.

ICMSA president John Comer, who told RTÉ Radio 1 the current legal situation around pre-nups has resulted in “ambiguity of the highest order”, said that he had “a very open and frank meeting” with Ms Fitzgerald.

He added: “We certainly think that the legal status of prenuptial agreements should be clarified. It’s not fair to have a situation where family farms that took generations to build and assemble and in which all the members have a huge emotional stake can be left in any kind of legal limbo and formal recognition of freely entered prenups would certainly help avoid that.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told that Ms Fitzgerald has “indicated that a further review will take place, which would provide an opportunity for farm representative bodies such as IFA and ICMSA to present any available evidence on the need for the introduction of pre-nups”.

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