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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Prenups--Grounds for annulment?

OK, bear with me. This is something that I wondered about, years ago, when I worked as a law clerk to a matrimonial judge. Prenups (prenuptial agreements about property, inheritance, etc) were not a huge issue with most of the people in our court (where we live, it is a lot of cops/firemen married to nurses), but of course I had to study up on them.

Today in our local paper there was an article about them and it got me wondering again. From a purely legal standpoint, a prenup makes sense if each party brings substantial assets to the marriage, along with children from an earlier marriage, perhaps a family business or a prospective inheritance. If you look at marrriage as a business partnership--which the law to a great extent does--it would seem foolish NOT to have one.

But if you view marriage as a sacrament, might the existence of a prenup constitute some evidence that one or both parties was not fully committing themselves to a lifetime relationship? Is it a sort of holding back? a way of saying, I love you, and I want to be married to you, but I can envision circumstances where I may no longer feel that way, so I want to protect myself financially?

I have no idea what if anything Catholic counselors advise. The topic did not come up in our one-day Engaged Encounter, nor in our conversation with my parish priest.

It just struck me. Does anyone at all have any insights on this?