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  #1  
Old Jan 20, '08, 9:06 pm
christoff christoff is offline
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Default Prenup agreement

Hi,

I am considering marrying my gf and have a moral dilemma. I am entering a very lucrative and satisfying profession, namely Medicine.
At the same time, given the alarming divorce statistics, I would like to protect the hard work that I have done until now. I am considering asking her to sign a prenup before marriage.
I would never cheat/divorce my future wife, and I trust her enough to say she wouldn't either.
However, I am afraid of some storise that I have heard. A professional who I know has lost nearly everything due to nasty divorce proceedings-kids, house, car, alminony, child support. Worst thing is she cheated on him. Now she lives with her lover on his salary.
In order to be safe, I would like to sign a prenup that in case something happens everything we have will go into a trust fund given to the kids once they are 18. I don't want lawyers getting any money from unfortunate situations. I'm not really concerned about material things except someone else benefitting from my hard work. I don't want to humiliate my spouse or anything(in fact the prenup would punish ous both in case of divorce).
My question is this: Is it possible to get a Catholic marriage with a prenup? Someone told me it's not possible(which I don't understand ) but I would like to verify. Thanks.
  #2  
Old Jan 20, '08, 9:12 pm
dulcissima dulcissima is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

I've also heard that you can not validly enter into a marriage with a pre-nup. It makes sense to me, it's like saying you are entering into a permanent marriage, but making plans just in case it isn't. I am divorced, but if I do marry again, it would only be if I trusted them enough not to make contingency plans.

I would question whether or not you are ready for the sacrifices of marriage if you are worried about someone benefitting from your hard work.
  #3  
Old Jan 20, '08, 11:03 pm
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monicatholic monicatholic is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Christoff,

in peace and goodwill, i asser there is no contingency plan for this:

CCC1648
Quote:
It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God's faithful love. Spouses who with God's grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community.
NO contingency plan for the lifelong bond except the grace of the sacrament.


please read Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West. there's a lot about the astonishing, beautiful Mystery of marriage that you need to know before entering into a lifelong union.
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  #4  
Old Jan 21, '08, 5:18 am
jman507 jman507 is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by dulcissima View Post
I've also heard that you can not validly enter into a marriage with a pre-nup. It makes sense to me, it's like saying you are entering into a permanent marriage, but making plans just in case it isn't. I am divorced, but if I do marry again, it would only be if I trusted them enough not to make contingency plans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dulcissima View Post

I would question whether or not you are ready for the sacrifices of marriage if you are worried about someone benefitting from your hard work.


It does make some sence to me. The question isn't so much if he is ready to make the sacrifices. Having the temptation of having so much being perceived to be gained by a divorce, it is worthy of concern. Granted once she may decide to go through the divorce, she may actually find it really isn't worth it, but then that's a little too late. If it was only a matter of your sacrifice being the only consideration, the decision would be easier. But given his story, his friend "has lost nearly everything due to nasty divorce proceedings-kids, house, car, alminony, child support." It would be one thing if he cheated, but it was her. How would you like to be cheated on, and in the process have to go through a nasty divorce and lose the kids?

Is a prenup the best approach? I can understand the consideration, but I think it is only so reliable. If anything I would say take your marriage seriously, and make sure she is too. I would make sure you both learn how to communicate well, especially in the hard times. You may want to bring up your concerns up with her. You should take your marriage prep work very seriously. C. West's book or Theology of the Body would be good books to work through. As a couple you may want to make friends with a relatively happy older couple in your business that you can try to model. That's just a few suggestions, but remember that just, because she can always cut and run, doesn't mean she will. A prenup will only act so much as a deterrent, but you can try to outpace by focusing, and setting up the circumstances for her to focus on the fundaments of a good strong relationship.
  #5  
Old Jan 21, '08, 6:00 am
Ridgerunner Ridgerunner is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

I have seen and worked with a lot of prenups. They're not always valid, particularly when they're unconscionable or extremely one-sided. In my state, you can't write a valid prenup that essentially cuts one party out without some countervailing, and reasonably equivalent consideration.

Nor should it be valid. If you are a physician and (let's say) your intended's best vocational prospects are unskilled labor, it's simply unconscionable to exact an agreement in which, if there is a divorce, she goes to the factory floor and you enjoy a six figure salary and all the assets that salary has gained over the years of the marriage. This is the woman who will be bearing and largely raising your children. Divorces can happen for all sorts of reasons, and for you to assume that only the misconduct of your spouse could possibly cause one is presumptious in the extreme. How can she be sure that your position of absolute economic superiority will not lead to an intolerable vanity on your part? And how are you going to write it? "She gets nothing unless I commit adultery"?? One spouse being a physician (or a lawyer, or a high-level exec) is really hard on a marriage because the profession is so demanding.

At some point, one simply has to accept it that life has certain perils, and marriage brings many. The answer is not economic imperialism. If one cannot accept the risks of marriage, one ought not to marry.

It has been my practice, anyway, to discourage prenups except when the purpose is to ensure the division of already-obtained assets and their increase among the children in a "mixed" family; the real purpose being to avoided future conflict among children and/or surviving spouses.

I have seen lots of physician divorces, and they always hate what happens. But physicians can earn their way out of it, and should.
And, by the way, distributing trust principal to an 18-year-old is very unwise. Never have I seen an 18 year old fail to squander it. Better think in terms of age 25, at least.

I am unaware of any Church rule that says you can't have a prenup. But I will say that some I have seen are, in my opinion, profoundly immoral on the part of the dominant party. But fortunately, the Courts often won't enforce the most unconscionable ones.
  #6  
Old Jan 21, '08, 6:22 am
1ke 1ke is online now
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by christoff View Post
I am considering marrying my gf and have a moral dilemma. I am entering a very lucrative and satisfying profession, namely Medicine.
At the same time, given the alarming divorce statistics, I would like to protect the hard work that I have done until now.
This statement indicates you are not ready for marriage. Marriage is total self-donation. If you care that much about "protecting" your "lucrative" profession and assets, you are not ready.

Quote:
Originally Posted by christoff View Post
I am considering asking her to sign a prenup before marriage.
I would never cheat/divorce my future wife, and I trust her enough to say she wouldn't either.
You don't trust her completely. That is a problem. It is either something inside of you that you need to work on, or she has shown some character flaw that you are ignoring and proceeding toward marriage but with this reservation in the back of your mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by christoff View Post
My question is this: Is it possible to get a Catholic marriage with a prenup? Someone told me it's not possible(which I don't understand ) but I would like to verify. Thanks.
Can. 1096 1. For matrimonial consent to exist, the contracting parties must be at least not ignorant that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation.

Can. 1101 1. The internal consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words and signs used in celebrating the marriage.

2. If, however, either or both of the parties by a positive act of the will exclude marriage itself, some essential element of marriage, or some essential property of marriage, the party contracts invalidly.

Can. 1102 1. A marriage subject to a condition about the future cannot be contracted validly.


Prenuptial agreements can bring validity into question when they center around disposition of assets in case of divorce. You can see by the canons above that marriage is permanent partnership. However, a prenuptial agreement with asset allocation in case of divorce brings in to question both Canon 1101-- the agreement is a positive act that excludes an essential property of marriage (permanence). Also, Canon 1102 specifically says marriage cannot be subject to future conditions.

Each diocese has their own process, but during marriage prep you would be asked about any prenuptial agreement. If you have one, it would have to be investigated and could be an impediment to proceeding with the marriage. If it's based on divorce-- it's almost certainly invalidates consent. You would have to rescind such an agreement before being allowed to proceed with marriage.

In the case of widows/widowers setting up inheritance rights for children of the first marriage upon death (NOT divorce) the church does not consider consent to have been compromised.
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ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
  #7  
Old Jan 21, '08, 6:40 am
DL82 DL82 is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by christoff View Post

In order to be safe, I would like to sign a prenup that in case something happens everything we have will go into a trust fund given to the kids once they are 18. I don't want lawyers getting any money from unfortunate situations. I'm not really concerned about material things except someone else benefitting from my hard work. I don't want to humiliate my spouse or anything(in fact the prenup would punish ous both in case of divorce).
It sounds to me like you want the prenup to be about punishing you both if you get a divorce. I think that would put unnecessary strain on your marriage, particularly if (God forbid) it should become clear in future that you need to separate for legitimate reasons (divorce isn't banned by the Church, only remarriage). This shows a lack of faith in the grace of the Sacrament to keep you together in love. Perfect love drives out fear.
  #8  
Old Jan 21, '08, 7:54 am
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rayne89 rayne89 is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

You can not have a valid sacramental marriage with a prenup.
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  #9  
Old Jan 21, '08, 9:20 am
whatevergirl whatevergirl is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by christoff View Post
Hi,

I am considering marrying my gf and have a moral dilemma. I am entering a very lucrative and satisfying profession, namely Medicine.
At the same time, given the alarming divorce statistics, I would like to protect the hard work that I have done until now. I am considering asking her to sign a prenup before marriage.
I would never cheat/divorce my future wife, and I trust her enough to say she wouldn't either.
However, I am afraid of some storise that I have heard. A professional who I know has lost nearly everything due to nasty divorce proceedings-kids, house, car, alminony, child support. Worst thing is she cheated on him. Now she lives with her lover on his salary.
In order to be safe, I would like to sign a prenup that in case something happens everything we have will go into a trust fund given to the kids once they are 18. I don't want lawyers getting any money from unfortunate situations. I'm not really concerned about material things except someone else benefitting from my hard work. I don't want to humiliate my spouse or anything(in fact the prenup would punish ous both in case of divorce).
My question is this: Is it possible to get a Catholic marriage with a prenup? Someone told me it's not possible(which I don't understand ) but I would like to verify. Thanks.
I can see why perhaps you might 'want' a prenup, but as others have stated--it would cause your marriage to be invalid in the eyes of the Church. Once you are married, 'your' money becomes your wife's and visa versa. The term 'mine' or 'my this or that' sort of goes to the wayside. lol I was pretty selfish early on in my own marriage, and I would imagine if I went into my marriage signing a pre nup, my mindset would have remained self centered and very guarded. I think pre nups do more bad than good, in the long run. I have a friend who inherited a lot of money, and she had her spouse sign it--and it cause a lot of discord because he always felt like she never trusted him--and he actually never felt fully loved by her. A prenup basically says--I love you, but don't trust that you won't hurt me, from the getgo. It is understandable to feel this way to an extent--we live in a lawsuit happy/divorce ladened society, but, when it comes to marrying in the Catholic faith, both spouses need to trust.

Before you marry, make sure that you trust the person you're marrying--does she have the same long term goals as you? Does she have a healthy view of money? Can you trust her? I would always encourage people to date for at least two years before marrying--or becoming engaged, because such issues usually rear their heads if given enough time. It's when we rush things, that trust issues are not uncovered. Just my advice--if you want a happy, healthy and trusting marriage...you need to trust that your spouse is in it for the same reasons. (and leave the rest in God's hands!) Good luck to you!
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  #10  
Old Jan 21, '08, 9:51 am
jman507 jman507 is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Boh, in defence of the OP, I wouldn't actually put my complete trust in my marriage not failing; not in this environment, and not with that little thing called concupiscence. Now for the prenup I wouldn't put my trust in that either, actually I'd be looking for a better methodology. I am sure that for many of the women, if they were faced with losing their kids, along with a good portion of their money, having to go through a nasty divorce, and being cheated on in the whole process you'd be a bit wary too. Let me repeat your kids, along with much of your identity. Granted the temptation may loom large, but the departing partner is a fool to think it's a great idea. What's done is what's done.

In general your best bet is to treat the marriage like a sacrament, and take her along on that ride too. That is the real way to bring the leverage back to a more stable place, where both parties are on equal footing with no extra leverage. A good relationship and doing God's will will make a person happier, and trump the temptation of economics.

Either that, or you won't be ready for marriage until you find a girl richer than yourself.
  #11  
Old Jan 21, '08, 9:52 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

a prenup that presupposes divorce as a possibility is probably enough to invalidate a Catholic marriage. you can accomplish the saime goals through estate and financial planning and advice. in marriage two people become one sharing everything including work and the financial rewards that go with it. If that reality is not part of your thinking on marriage, perhaps another look at your plans is in order.
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Last edited by puzzleannie; Jan 21, '08 at 10:07 am.
  #12  
Old Jan 21, '08, 10:18 am
kage_ar kage_ar is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Should you be called to the vocation of marriage, that vocation is more important than any job or bankroll.

Put God first, others second, yourself last. Marry someone who shares the same faith, values and priority in life.

Remember, nothing in this world comes with guarantees, not marriage and not a carreer, not money, not education, nothing is promised to you.
  #13  
Old Jan 21, '08, 10:22 am
vocatio vocatio is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

If this is what pops in your mind when considering marriage, then you are most likely not ready to marry. Any spouse would be foolish to tie the knot with someone holding back all they have, including the paycheck. But, you can always swim the Tiber the wrong way and go to that non-sacramental invalid wedding way, using your spouse for gratification...shame on anyone for thinking such a thing.

You are obviously not ready to marry and in need of better spiritual direction. Maybe you should move on and pray about this before making a fool out of yourself. Surely a wise potential spouse would run if you propose this.
  #14  
Old Jan 21, '08, 10:34 am
JustAnotherThou JustAnotherThou is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Ok, I know this is not what you asked, although it is the advice I have.

I have many friends who are Dr.'s, Lawyers, Stock Brokers, etc. (basically have very large incomes). What I have seen, and what has appeared to work best for those who have good marriages and (at least appear) not to worry about losing everything, is those who live below their income. They don't get caught up in the "we have to live in this neighborhood, drive this car, etc., because that is what all of the other Dr.'s, Lawyers, etc do." They buy a modest house, or even rent a modest apartment, they drive modest vehicle, etc. And then save (or pay of school loans) with what they don't need to live on.
One lawyer friend of mine, put it this way; "I don't have to worry about her taking off with the Jag, because we don't own a Jag!"
I have a Dr that lives above my store. It is a VERY modest 1 bedroom apartment. She is completely debt free, saving for retirement, and helps her parents & family when needed.
I guess my point is if either of you are worried about the material things, maybe you need to re-asses how important they are to begin with.
  #15  
Old Jan 21, '08, 10:36 am
dulcissima dulcissima is offline
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Default Re: Prenup agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by jman507 View Post
Boh, in defence of the OP, I wouldn't actually put my complete trust in my marriage not failing; not in this environment, and not with that little thing called concupiscence. Now for the prenup I wouldn't put my trust in that either, actually I'd be looking for a better methodology. I am sure that for many of the women, if they were faced with losing their kids, along with a good portion of their money, having to go through a nasty divorce, and being cheated on in the whole process you'd be a bit wary too. Let me repeat your kids, along with much of your identity. Granted the temptation may loom large, but the departing partner is a fool to think it's a great idea. What's done is what's done.

In general your best bet is to treat the marriage like a sacrament, and take her along on that ride too. That is the real way to bring the leverage back to a more stable place, where both parties are on equal footing with no extra leverage. A good relationship and doing God's will will make a person happier, and trump the temptation of economics.

Either that, or you won't be ready for marriage until you find a girl richer than yourself.
People don't just lose their kids for no reason. If he knows someone that lost his kids it's because he did something pretty major to lose them.
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