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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is the Catholic Church teaching regarding signing a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married?

A. 1. According to the Code of Canon Law # 1102,

"1 Marriage cannot be validly contracted subject to a condition concerning the future."

2 Marriage entered into subject to a condition concerning the past or the present is valid or not, according as whatever is the basis of the condition exists or not.

3 However, a condition as mentioned in 2 may not lawfully be attached except with the written permission of the local Ordinary."

For the Sacrament of Marriage to be valid, it requires a total commitment from both parties. When a condition is attached, the marriage is not valid. An example of a condition would be, "I will marry you if you agree to give me half your assets should we separate." Here we see that money is more important that the Sacrament of Marriage and the party is already talking of separation before the marriage has taken place. Such a marriage is invalid.

In exceptional cases, a prenuptial agreement is permitted. In a situation where a widow and widower are getting married, both having children from their first marriage, a prenuptial agreement is legitimate in order to determine what assets are associated with the inheritance rights of each spouse's children. This guarantees that the property that was accumulated during the first marriage, half belonging to the deceased spouse, shall be passed on to the children of the first marriage.

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