my roommate’s fiancée broke up with her because she refused to sign prenup agreements… and he had been promised to receive a certain inheritance (worth a few thousand) but only if he remained unmarried or any marriage was hampered by certain prenups…

in my understanding, prenups invalidate a marriage, don’t they?

I mean, why promise to love someone forever, and then include an escape clause in case you really don’t love them forever after all? doesn’t that kind’ve… cheapen the whole thing?

and… if a person loves someone enough to marry them, then shouldn’t they love that person more than a few thousand dollars? shouldn’t it be a matter of, “sorry, I’m not willing to cheapen our marriage like that because I love her too much to do that to her - she’s worth more than any amount of money so screw the inheritance”?

is that crazy?

Esther Rose

I’m with your roommate, I would never sign one.

Hard to believe that her ex-fiance’s inheiritance has such stringent stipulations attached to it. Some men only think in terms of money. He probably saw her as a obstacle to his inheiritance.

In most instances it would seem that a pre-nuptial agreement would render a Catholic marriage invalid as it is an act against the permanence of marriage.

Maybe this is for the best for your roommate…this probably saved her from marrying a shallow man who only cares about money. Better in the long run perhaps…:shrug:

I second that, any man who would rather break up than marry without a pre-nup (for whatever reason) is not worth marrying. He did her a big favor.

When DH and I got engaged, he was running his family’s business. For various reasons (long story), most of the assets of the business were in his name. So, for tax reasons the business belonged to DH.

His Dad and brother were insisting that I sign a pre-nup. I said no way, absolutely not. (This was before I knew pre-nups would invalidate a marriage, but I just instinctively knew it was an insult to marriage).

It was a tough choice for DH. He had a lot of pressure from his entire family and I refused to cooperate. He ended up choosing me in the end. And about a month before the wedding he had a “falling out” with his Dad and was kicked out of the business (AND out of a job).

We talk about what happened now and we both agree we’re glad things worked out the way they did because if he had stayed in business with his Dad, our marriage probably wouldn’t have lasted long anyways.

Why does a prenup always invalidate a marriage?

A widow and a widower marry. They each sign prenups that state each of their estates will go to their own children, not the new spouse or the spouses children if they die or divorce, and that the children have a say in end of life decisions or whatever…

Yeah, a will and other documents could say that, too. So, does having a will and legal documents that do the same thing invalidate the marriage?

End of life decisions/estates in the event of death would be covered in a will or living will. No pre-nup needed.

As far as I know, any pre-nup that has stipulations “in the event of divorce” invalidate the marriage. Regardless of the reason. Because anybody going into a Catholic marriage with the idea that “just in case this ends in divorce” invalidates the marriage.

At least that’s the way I understand it.

Even if your dealing with a widower, if they enter a new marriage, they become ONE with their spouse. ONE. That means everything about them, their body, everything they own, becomes ONE property. Their assets no longer belong to their children of a previous marriage, they belong to their new spouse because they are now ONE. You can’t seperate one person or their property.

So, bottom line. If a person doesn’t want to share their $$ with their spouse, then don’t get married.

such an will would be illegal in many states, sounds like the BF is not being upfront with this lady.
a prenup pre-assumes divorce, hardly a Catholic attitude when entering marriage.
prenup is a bad idea, much better is a living will and proper estate planning.

the difference is the will with proper trusts in place accomplishes the object of preserving inheritence of children from the first marriage, the prenup does not, so it is not a very good idea from any point of view.

According to “Ask a Franciscan” at

They can help in one situation. If a widow with adult children marries a widower who also has adult children, a prenuptial agreement can be a legitimate way of identifying common property as well as separate property, the basis for estates to be divided among each spouse’s children

I guess I’m saying that, while it’s true a prenup protecting my assets for the sake of myself is wrong, a prenup protecting my children’s inheritance (or the family business) should be okay.

Hypothetical situation: It would not be fair to my children if my wife and I died in the same accident and my family business passed on to her children instead of mine.

Can. 1102

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

§2. A marriage entered into subject to a condition about the past or the present is valid or not insofar as that which is subject to the condition exists or not.

§3. The condition mentioned in §2, however, cannot be placed licitly without the written permission of the local ordinary.


I disagree.

When we are dealing with people who have a past life that involves children, it’s a different story. Sure, the two become one in marriage. But the children were there before the marriage. They aren’t getting married. And if the children are minors, all the more important that they are provided for.

It is rare that 2 people come together with equal resources. If a woman has money for her childrens’ education, and she dies a couple years onto the marriage, why should her new spouse take half of that?

I do believe that all the money acquired during the second marriage belongs equally to both spouses.

But this is complicated. Not so cut and dry as to say you can’t get married again unless you hand over all your money to your new spouse.

A parents assets do not belong to their children until the parent dies.

My parents are alive right now. I have no rights or claim to anything that belongs to them. When they die, I may have a claim if it was left to me in their will or if they have no will at all. They could leave everything to charity if they wanted to.

If my mom dies and my dad remarries, his wife must come before me as an adult child. Period. Everything that my dad owns would now be owned by that woman also. I have no claim to it unless they BOTH decide to give it to me.

Any person or law that says otherwise is undermines the very fundamental basis of marriage. The two become ONE.

Now, things can be a little more complicated for minor children. If there is a college fund, then that $$ should be put in a fund in the child’s name before the marriage occurs. If there is life insurance $$ from the death of a parent, that $$ should go in an account with the child’s name on it. There are legal ways to protect the minor child’s $$ without undermining the marriage.

But as for other assets that belong to the adults, if they aren’t willing to put marriage before $$, then perhaps they should stay single. Marriage is usually a gamble. And yes, some people get burned by marrying dishonest people who are just out for $$. But that’s a chance you take. $$ is money. Your not taking it with you when you die. But the Sacrament of Marriage concerns your soul, which you will take with you when you die. Therefore marriage trumps $$ any day.

Are you saying that married people aren’t allowed to have their own money? It’s not something I do, but those couples that have separate bank accounts, pay the common bills together, pool their money to buy the car, whatever, are wrong?

It seems like you are arguing that it’s all about the money, that it’s important to intermingle it to prove the validity of the marriage.

If I remarried after my wife died, and we wanted the new wife to pass her wealth to her children and me to pass my wealth to my children, why is that wrong if that’s what we want?

I think married people “having their own money” is dangerous to the marriage. It’s the mindset that is the problem. And I think that mindset, a lot of the time, leads many couples to divorce.

Well, I agree it’s strange and could lead to selfishness or a less than total commitment to each other.

I think in some cases it works, and we shouldn’t put a blanket prohibition on something like prenups. We should let the Church determine if it’s okay or not.

I’m not talking about undermining a marriage. I’m talking about the reality that occurs when people come into a marriage with children. We agree that minor children need to be provided for.

Adult children do not have a right to the parent’s money, I agree. But if the parent wants to give something acquired during the first marriage to the adult child upon her death, I don’t see a problem. I’m talking about maybe a house, or land or jewelry or even cash. Obviously, this has to be all worked out before the second marriage takes place. If both parties are in agreement, there is no undermining of the marriage.

This is worse than being in a pit full of vipers! If marriage were that simple anymore. It’s amazing how people’s good intentions are at the beginning, just to find they were disillusioned months or years later. Forget the Church that married them for better or worse…I’m not happy, it’s time for the lawyers to bail me out!! I’m taking everything plus +++ and so goes 'til death do us part!" The statistics state just as many first time Catholic marriages fail as do Protestants > 50%.

…so with that abstract reasoning, is it a valid marriage when converts to the faith have their marriage blessed 'convalidated", yet had a prior prenuptial agreement in their civil or protestant life.

My neighbor is less than 30 years old, not married, yet probably is worth > million $. He has a live in girlfriend (financee’), yet he won’t marry her unless she signs a pre-nup. So if she disagrees, she either remains shacked up and unmarried (Friends w/ benefits) or she moves on…America really is a smoldering cesspool. America will be rot from inside…because of the attack on the family and the legalese we have allowed.:frowning:

I agree. And I think this attitude is at the root of the astronomical divorce rate right now.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit