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Justice Ministry and Catholic Church differ over prenups

THE JUSTICE Ministry wants to reduce the divorce rate and prevent marriages forged with the intention of self-enrichment by introducing prenuptial agreements. Justice Minister Štefan Harabin announced the proposal on August 25, after holding talks with Bratislava Metropolitan Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský, the SITA newswire wrote.

THE JUSTICE Ministry wants to reduce the divorce rate and prevent marriages forged with the intention of self-enrichment by introducing prenuptial agreements. Justice Minister Štefan Harabin announced the proposal on August 25, after holding talks with Bratislava Metropolitan Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský, the SITA newswire wrote.

The Roman Catholic church opposes the move, arguing it will have a negative effect on society.

"We are convinced that prenuptial agreements strengthen the divorce mentality in society," said Archbishop Zvolenský. He said the church believes that concluding such an agreement could cast doubt on the absoluteness of wedding vows. It would not mean that a marriage would end in divorce but it would reinforce this option, the archbishop said.

The justice minister wants to meet representatives of all the churches in Slovakia before submitting the proposal for approval, in order to establish their views. The ministry plans to submit a bill to parliament in 2010.

"We do not want to enact legislation against the people, or against the majority opinion of the people, which is why we are exploring opinions," said Harabin.

Slovak law does not currently recognise prenuptial agreements. After a divorce, joint property of the former couple is divided between them half-and-half.

Three years ago, the Alliance of the New Citizen (ANO) party tried to incorporate prenuptial agreements into Slovak law but the attempt failed.


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