Marriage &
The Catholic Church is taking a cautious approach to a bill before Federal Parliament which could make pre-nuptial agreements legally binding.
    The bill also proposes to legally bind financial agreements made during marriage or after separation.
    Judicial vicar of the Regional Tribunal in Brisbane, Fr Adrian Farrelly said the Church had serious reservations about anything that could undermine a couple's total commitmen to each other when they marry.
    "Pre-nuptial agreements fall into that category," he said. "They raise serious questions."
    "Would they make the marriage vows exchanged null and void? Should priests refuse to officiate at weddings of couples who make such agreements?"
    Fr Farrelly said pre-nuptial agreements did not automatically mean that a couple are not making a life-long agreement that only death can dissolve.
    But a Church tribunal would investigate very carefully what such an agreement revealed about a couple's intentions in the event that the marriage failed and an anulment was sought.
    Fr Farrelly said many couple may not reveal a pre-nuptial agreement to a priest, but the position of a priest asked to officiate at the marriage of a couple who did reveal such an agreement was an issue.
Catholic Leader
4 Sep 00

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