PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS IN IRELAND

Ireland

In Ireland it appears that the courts are not required to enforce prenuptial agreements. The Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 gives the Irish courts extremely wide discretion over the distribution of a divorcing couples assets. There is a dearth of authority on the issue of the extent to which a court in Ireland will take a prenuptial agreement into consideration in its distribution of assets and, in the absence of such authority, it is assumed that Irish courts will not consider (and will almost certainly refuse to automatically enforce) a prenuptial agreement.

In one case the Irish court stated that where the parties were well educated, intelligent persons who received independent legal advice before entering a separation agreement and the agreement was of recent date, the courts should be slow to make any radical changes to such an agreement. M.G. v. M.G. (Circuit Family Court Dublin July 25, 2000).

In 2007 the Minister for Justice issued a report recommending that prenuptial agreements should be used as a guide when a court is deciding on assets division in a divorce. As a result of the report, the Department of Justice began drafting a new Family Law Bill that would allow for prenuptial agreements to be recognized under Irish law.

In future cases, the Irish courts are likely to be influenced by the 2010 UK Supreme Court ruling in Radmacher v. Granatino that prenuptial agreements should be applied unless they produce unfairness.




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