What is the Catholic Stance on Pre-Nuptial Agreements?

Pre-nuptial agreements are pre-marital, contractual documents that stipulate what happens to the financial and material assets of a couple should they get divorced. Given the Church’s strict stance against divorces, what does it have to say about Catholic couples who are deciding whether to sign a prenup or not?

Cale Clarke began a conversation about this question by examining a recent X (Twitter) exchange between Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, Jeremy Boring, CEO of The Daily Wire, and Zuby, a rapper, podcaster, and entrepreneur.

The exchange began with a statement from Zuby that read:

“I am a millionaire. If you think I am getting married without a prenup then you are insane or naïve. I trust God. I will trust my wife. My wife will trust me. Neither of us will trust the government.”

Lila Rose responded, saying, “If you truly trust your wife, you don’t need a prenup. And if you don’t fully trust your would-be wife, marrying them is a bad idea. The nature of marriage is ‘until death do us part.’ A prenup says otherwise.”

Jeremy Boreing replied to Rose’s argument by saying, “I deeply disagree with this take from my friend. It’s common among Christians, but it’s misguided… All a prenup does is allow the couple themselves, before they ever get married, to contemplate the consequences of divorce. This is in every way superior to walking into marriage with idealistic blinders on, only to allow courts long after to arbitrarily determine those consequences if someone chooses the way out called divorce.”

He also explained that before Christian marriage, it was Jewish marriage, and they always had a prenup. It was called a Ketubah, and its purpose was to outline what marriage is, explain the importance of the couple’s vows, and determine what the consequences for violating those vows would be.

Boreing contended that pretending that divorce is not a legal, available option is naïve and unwise. He said God alone can be fully trusted because humans are prone to making mistakes.

Given these various perspectives on such a contentious issue, you might wonder what the Catholic Church has to say about it.

“In actuality, the Catholic Church does not have a prohibition against pre-nuptial agreements. All things being equal, they are not an impediment to a Catholic marriage,” said Cale. “There may even be circumstances in which it might actually be a good idea.”

In examining the strength of the marriage, you have to go back to the beginning and examine the source of the union. Often in annulment cases, couples are interviewed and asked if they knew what they were getting into. Couples cannot be coerced or forced into getting married in any way. It must be a completely voluntary entrance into marriage, or else the union is invalid.

Have you come here freely, to give yourselves without reserve to one another? Do you promise to be faithful? And do you accept children as a gift from God and will you raise them according to the laws of Christ and His Church?

If your answer to any of these questions is “No”, then the marriage is invalid. These are the questions that the Church concerns itself with when it comes to determining the structural strength of a marriage before God. Whether a couple wants to sign a pre-nuptial agreement or not is a personal decision. It may be better or worse depending on each situation, but the Church leaves that up to each couple.

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John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.