Can Catholic spouses have separate posessions?


#1

Must a Catholic married couple own all things in common? I know the sacrament is supposed to make two people 'one flesh', but increasingly these days couples who marry later tend to bring a lot of personal posessions to the marital home. Is everything necessarily in common? Bank accounts? Savings and investments?

If two spouses have their separate savings accounts and take these with them if the marriage breaks up, how is this different to a pre-nup (which invalidates a Catholic marriage)?


#2

The difference in a holy marriage is that these financial decisions aren't made for the purpose of making a divorce easier.

Different families may have unique situations that may require separation of finances. There's nothing inherently wrong with that in and of itself.

What's wrong is taking this action with the preemptive mindset of accommodating for an easy divorce. Divorce should never be a preemptive mindset in a holy marriage.


#3

[quote="DL82, post:1, topic:186577"]
Must a Catholic married couple own all things in common? I know the sacrament is supposed to make two people 'one flesh', but increasingly these days couples who marry later tend to bring a lot of personal posessions to the marital home. Is everything necessarily in common? Bank accounts? Savings and investments?

If

[/quote]

certainly if there is a good reason for it, to protect assets of one from liability exposure incurred by the other, if either is a sole proprietor of a business, or in charge of an account, trust, investment for other family members. There may be good and beneficial reasons for filing separate tax returns, and separate accounts for the same reasons. The difference is setting these arrangements up for the good of both parties and the family in general. For instance a spouse who travels a lot for business might want to have a credit card in his name just for those expenses to make business and tax accounting easier. If either party is setting up such an arrangment for the purpose of safeguarding assets in case of divorce, that is anticipating divorce even expecting it, and could and probably would invalidate the marriage. For instance older persons who remarry might have accounts jointly with a child from the previous marriage, or accounts in their own name which name a child as beneficiary, as part of estate planning.

even a pre-nup does not by definition invalidate a marriage, it may be required for instance under the terms of ownership of a family business or trust for instance, but if its purpose is primarily in anticipation of divorce, that could invalidate the marriage.


#4

Single guy talking, so take it with a small grain of salt.

I think they need to have seperate lives- not really seperate possesions. Bank accounts, in my opinion, are to be shared. Seperate bank accounts can lead to problems. Key word-CAN. Marriage is tough enough as it is. Do you really need to add probelms to it?


#5

I don’t know what the official Catholic stance is on this, but I strongly believe that once you are married, you should be sharing all property.

My very devout Godmother told me when I got married that we should definitely have a join bank account and once you are married, there is no more “this is mine, and that is yours”. Everything is shared.

I really cherish that advice.


#6

There is another consideration here. When my parents examined “their” retirement options, with my father having been the sole breadwinner & thus pension-earner, they discovered a terrible loophole in the fine print of the company contract: the pension did not go to a surviving spouse if the working spouse died first. That is an example that the financial security of married people is not limited to questions of fidelity. There are other parties such as the government and providers of pensions, services, even other relatives to consider. I do believe that each party does have the full right under Catholicism to maintain some separate resources so that their security is not badly affected by third-party relations.

This especially can strengthen a marriage because if one spouse falls into a sin such as gambling, the other spouse can consider remaining married without endangering the security of the children. It also protects the inheritance of the children from possible greed on the part of other relatives who do not want to honor the surviving spouse (very common in certain kinds of mixed marriages or marriages involving converts from anti-catholic backgrounds)

I lost a good part of my inheritance and all of my daughter’s inheritance to the machinations of a protestant relative who gave my mother trouble over her “rosary habit” before she died, and I once had the unpleasant duty of sitting “watch” in a friend’s mother’s house while my friend settled her mother’s estate. I was shocked at the strange people who turned up on the doorstep to claim bits and pieces of her mother’s frankly poor estate. A similar scene was played out in an apartment building where I lived where some relatives of a deceased neighbor got into an embarrassing argument over the furniture.

We often forget that while “two are made one” the rest of the family can make a mess. It is no sin to plan for good stewardship in recognition that death, incapacitating illness or falling into weakness is unpredictable. Humility requires us to remember this at all times :frowning: . IMHO


#7

Let’s just say that I’d better not catch DH with my toothbrush in his mouth any time soon . . . :smiley:

But on a serious note, I think there is a lot of personality in this, as well as the pragmatic reasons for legally seperating things that other people mentioned. DH and I like to share everything, and don’t keep anything private from each other.

However, it has some drawbacks. When we share things, we need to make sure one of us doesn’t use that thing in a way that prevents the other from doing what they need to do. For example, with a joint bank account, if DH needs to go buy a new thermostat he first needs to check that we won’t end up overdrawn because I paid a bunch of bills at the same time. If he bought that thermostat out of HIS account and I paid bills out of MY account, that wouldn’t be an issue. We, and many other couples, resolve this dilemma by making one person “boss” over the finances - which isn’t entirely in line with “one flesh” either.


#8

[quote="DL82, post:1, topic:186577"]
Must a Catholic married couple own all things in common? I know the sacrament is supposed to make two people 'one flesh', but increasingly these days couples who marry later tend to bring a lot of personal posessions to the marital home. Is everything necessarily in common? Bank accounts? Savings and investments?

If two spouses have their separate savings accounts and take these with them if the marriage breaks up, how is this different to a pre-nup (which invalidates a Catholic marriage)?

[/quote]

They don't need to have all property juridically in both names, but you'd wonder why they kept their property separate. Lack of trust? Not wanting to share? Both worrying signals. And in order to keep things real, let's separate real problems from the idea of a spouse being entitled to sell your stamp collection! ;)

Prenupts don't necessarily invalidate. They're only potential proof of exclusion of indissolubility and not really on their own either. You need to prove that someone by a positive act of will excluded indissolubility from the marital consent. Merely making provisions in case it will end in divorce doesn't make it invalid yet.


#9

There can be various legal and financial reasons that couples maintain separate bank accounts, legal documents, etc. as people have already mentioned. But the spouse should be made aware of the separate accounts and documents,kept in the loop for all information. The question should be more is there a reason for a spouse to have a separate account or situation because they have a trust problem in the marriage, and that is a much bigger problem that needs to be addressed. If one is keeping a possession privately/separately from their spouse, one has to ask the hard questions about the motives behind such an action.


#10

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