Prenuptial Agreements

Published on 20th March 2019

A Prenuptial agreement is a written agreement, made before a marriage, as to how assets should be divided in the event of relationship breakdown.

The rise in property values has made prenuptial agreements relevant for sons and daughters in farming families. Coupled with that, matrimonial courts have shown much greater willingness over the last decade to enforce a prenuptial agreement providing it is judged reasonable. To be deemed as such it must be proven that the agreement was entered into willingly by both spouses, in the light of full information on the other’s financial circumstances and independent legal advice.

A prenuptial agreement will not eliminate the cost of a divorce, but in some cases, may reduce the exposure from ‘half the farm’ to perhaps ‘a house’.

Because of the importance to the financial security of a family farm, a modern partnership agreement will sometimes include a clause requiring a partner to enter into a  prenuptial agreement in advance of any future marriage. If the partnership agreement contains such a clause before a son or daughter meet their future spouse, this will also provide a tactful way to raise the subject when marriage is contemplated!