Catholic Weddings

Pre-Nup

My fiance asked me if I would be open to a pre-nup last night, and I am absolutely sick about it.  I am posting to this board to avoid really negative things like I have faced on other boards, and also because we are both Catholic.

Some history: he has his own business as a construction contractor and oil field consultant.  His dad owns a small oil field.  He is an architectural engineer.  I am divorced with 2 daughters (in process of annulment of that first marriage - total disaster: ex-husband had an affair and basically did not believe marriage was permanent at all, we were immature, I was dependent, etc).  He earns only slightly higher than me, has a house with a mortgage, and actually has more debt than I.  I have very little assets/savings and some debt.  I left my first marriage with nothing, and I work really hard in a professional environment and am a really good mom!  So I'm educated and gaining success in my career.  I feel like I am going off on a tangent; I'm venting.  Granted, his net worth is currently much higher than mine, and his lifetime earning potential is definitely higher than mine.  

This all means nothing to me!  We are very compatible, in love, and very committed to each other.  Prior to this request, I really thought we had the same opinions on the permanence of marriage!  Now, though, I am starting to doubt it.

He said that he was concerned that my ex-husband would try to sue me later because my ex would discover that we have money.  My ex-husband is very successful, and makes a lot more money than we do!  Additionally, my ex husband has absolutely no grounds to sue me for  any reason - ever!  My ex and I really can't stand each other but we make nice and are both good parents to our daughters.  We are amicable - maybe civil is a better term.  So this concern is total BS!!!

I suspected this coming, unfortunately.  His parents are pretty wealthy and my FI is very close to his parents and brother.  I suspected that they would suggest this to my FI.  But I really though that if they did, he would blow it off.  Marriage is permanent!  So a pre-nup is unnecessary.

So when he suggested it, citing my ex-husband possibly later suing us as the reason, and that "he had quite a bit to lose" I just felt tense, cold, DIRTY.  I was really quiet/seething about it for a while. Then, when he asked if I was offended (!!!!!!!), I calmly replied, "I actually suspected this might come up.  Pre-nups are designed to protect somebody against being taken in a divorce.  My ex-husband has absolutely no grounds to ever sue me for any reason, so that reason is total BS!"

He asked me why I thought it would come up, and I told him I had no concrete reason, but I just suspected it.  I left out his family.  I just don't see any benefit to explain my suspicions.  They have not meddled in our relationship at all over the last 3+ years that we have been dating.  However, lately his parents are giving feedback.  I think this little nugget is one of them.

He did not reply at all and neither of us has brought up this topic.  He wanted to talk about finances later in the evening, so we did this.  It was totally fact-based.  That part is good; we should know these numbers before we tied the knot.  However, we did pretty much know all of it anyway, this merely clarified exact numbers.

MAINLY, I would love feedback on your Catholic take on pre-nups.  My firm belief is that if you truly believe in the permanence of marriage, a pre-nup contradicts that belief.  I also would love feedback about whether I should reveal my suspicions that his parents encourage him to do a pre-nup.  This could cause a fight, but it could also serve to unite us as a couple against outside pressure in the future.  Stop meddling in-laws early specifically.  This pre-nup idea does not seem in his character to come up with on his own.

Re: Pre-Nup

  • I would strongly encourage you to talk to a priest and/or a canon lawyer.  I have heard of instances where a pre-nup makes sense, but they are few.  I would think protecting FI's assets should your ex decide to sue for spousal support (as unlikely as that sounds) would be a decent reason for a pre-nup.  I don't really know much about them, though, so speaking with an expert would be your best bet.

    I'm with you that a pre-nup seems like nothing less than preparing for divorce, and I'm sorry if your future ILs have put this bug in FI's ear.
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  • There can be no conditions for divorce when marrying in the church-- a priest cannot marry you if there is this kind if pre-nup because it won't be valid.

  • There can be no conditions for divorce when marrying in the church-- a priest cannot marry you if there is this kind if pre-nup because it won't be valid.
    But that doesn't mean they can't have one, right?  If the pre-nup only talks about what will happen to the FI's assets in the event that the ex-husband tries to sue for spousal support, that's not a condition of divorce.

    What about (this came up on the Catholic Answers forum post I skimmed trying to answer this) a pre-nup that specifies what happens to one spouse's assets in the event of death?  
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  • That's why I said "this kind of pre-nup", in referring to the earlier "conditions for divorce".


  • CFtaylor, I'd say have a good long hard conversation about what he is actually asking. If he is intending to put a condition on the marriage, I'd do a lot of soul searching about it. The fact that the church won't allow conditions protects you here, but if he brought it up and wants it, then that is a red flag. 

    2nd-- just an FYI, annulments are never guaranteed, so its good to not get in too deep until you are declared free to marry as you are still considered to be married by the church. 

    Just make sure that the priest is able to see the terms of any kind of legal agreement.


  • That's why I said "this kind of pre-nup", in referring to the earlier "conditions for divorce".


    Right.  Just clarifying.
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