Unfortunately, a prenuptial agreement is commonly viewed as planning for divorce before a marriage even begins in the Catholic religion.
The mere mention of the word “prenup” can incite a gasp and an inquisitive raise of the eyebrow. But prenuptial agreements are not necessarily executed with an eye to an exit plan, but rather a marriage based on communication about finances to avoid problems.
There is nothing wrong with couples discussing and documenting their financial plans. In fact, it would be foolish not to discuss it; entering the marriage with a clear understanding of each other’s financial goals, and of any bad habits, prevents surprises and possible disappointment down the road.
When you consider parties who may raise an eyebrow at a prenup, the Catholic Church naturally comes to mind as they remain honorably committed to the union of marriage. However, the Church also recognizes the importance of smart marriage preparation, and it is possible – and may be wise – for Catholic couples to have a Catholic Prenup drafted by a family law attorney.
Wise pre-marriage planning should address how to:
- pay off “separate debt"
- clean up a poor credit history
- preserve some separate money
- identify how to manage the couple’s pooled funds
In fact, Catholic Pre-Cana classes, which are taught by married couples and attended by engaged couples, URGE couples to communicate about finances.
Can Catholics get a prenuptial agreement?
It is widely known that arguments about money are common in marriages. When couples meet at the end of the aisle they each may have brought with them varying levels of debt and financial responsibilities. Once those bank accounts combine, how much each spouse brings in and how much they spend, and what they spend it on, may become excruciatingly clear. Couples who don’t understand each other’s fiscal personality and haven’t discussed how to divvy up debts, bills and spending money are in for some tough conversations.
Where Pre-Cana classes can start the conversation around financial planning, a prenuptial agreement can document the decisions made without creating an expectation of divorce. The astute family attorney can assess couples’ unique needs and concerns, including those that are religious, and take the right measures in creating pre-marital agreements. The agreements will be drafted without mentioning “divorce”, and not subject to disapproval by the Church.
This “Catholic Prenup” memorializes in writing a couple’s financial plans, addressing their liabilities and assets as they embark on their marriage commitment. A lack of communication can lead to heartache and too often a ruined marriage. Preemptive measures like Pre-Cana classes, other counseling methods, and supporting documentation such as prenuptial agreements can help to strengthen unions, rather than set them up to fail.
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The information above is general: we recommend that you consult an attorney regarding your specific circumstances. The content of this information is not meant to be considered as legal advice or a substitute for legal representation.