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What does it take to declare a Prenuptial Agreement as Valid?

A prenuptial agreement is a formal contract between two people who wish to marry and settle down with each other. The agreement states the proper division of the financial assets in case the couple choose to opt for a judicial separation or a divorce in the future. The contents of the agreement differ from one couple to another depending on the circumstances that they are in. Such an agreement also attempts to settle issues pertaining to maintenance, pensions, custody and other lump sum payments.

Such an agreement is framed in order to try and avoid any kind of dispute that may arise in connection to the division of the property following a separation. The agreement is drafted in a way that the couple can make a contract given the clauses of the existing Family Law in the country. Most couples prefer to enter a prenuptial agreement in order to avoid any hassles in the future, especially when it comes to the division of property. This way each of the spouses can commit to the marriage with the complete knowledge that a contract has already been signed in case they choose to part ways.

There has always been a debate about the validity of such a contract and its legal binding. However, these are not considered illegal in Ireland and thus are enforceable. Law experts believe that such an agreement can be considered to be helpful at a time of when the marriage ends and taken to be an effective guide for the appropriate distribution of the property. However, it is taken into consideration only after the judge is convinced of the fact that the agreement was drafted in a fair and responsible manner and after keeping in mind the best interests of both the parties involved.

These agreements also have the public opinion going in favour of them, as they tend to benefit both the spouses. The Government had in fact proposed in favour of the formal recognition of the agreements. While considering the authenticity of the agreement, the Judges would in fact take into account the changes that had occurred in the circumstances of the married couple. For the courts to recognise the document as a valid one, both the parties should ensure that they:
  • Provide complete disclosure of their financial status
  • Get independent advice when it comes to putting the agreement into effect following the collapse of the marital relationship and the division of the assets that will follow suit
  • Get legal advice at the time of the breakdown of the marriage even if no agreement was signed between the two parties
  • Declare and sign an acknowledgement which states that the agreement is legally valid and thus binding
  • Consent to a provision that allows the review of the agreement on a regular basis or following the birth of your child
  • Consent to the actual percentage division of the assets and maintenance values

All these factors would make the prenuptial agreement more effective and therefore increase the chances of a proper division of property in case of a marital split.



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