A new Family Law Bill contains the proposal that prenuptial agreements be recognized in Irish law.
The bill is a follow up to a report commissioned by then minister for justice Michael McDowell in 2007 which says such agreements should be used as a guide when a court is deciding on assets division in a divorce, according to the Irish Times.
Currently prenups are not legally enforceable in Ireland.
Under both UK and Irish family law, a couple’s combined assets are divided after a marriage break up, though not necessarily on a 50/50 basis.
This week, the UK supreme court ruled, in a case concerning a wealthy German heiress, that prenuptial agreements have “decisive weight” in English divorce cases.
Katrin Radmacher, with an estimated fortune of £100 million, and her French banker husband Nicolas Granatino signed a prenuptial agreement when they married in 1998. He agreed to make no claims on her fortune if the marriage failed.
When the couple separated in 2006 and divorced in Britain, Granatino challenged the agreement, arguing it had no status in English law. The settlement awarded him £1 million and the use of a home worth £2.5 million until his youngest daughter is 22.
Lord Phillips, president of the UK supreme court, stated that the prenuptial agreement should have “decisive force.” Lady Hale, the only woman sitting on the court, disagreed, stating that an agreement should be considered as only one factor taken into account in a divorce settlement. Lord Phillips said the courts would still be able to waive prenuptial agreements if they are not fair or do not provide for the needs of the children of a marriage.
The ruling may have persuasive weight in Irish courts.