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Valerie wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been a practicing Christian in a large non-denominational church for thirteen years. I have felt drawn to the Catholic church for some time. I have been married for 26 years to a wonderful Catholic man, but his first wife, at a very young age, left him for another man. Due to lack of support at the time, he believed he was excommunicated and never returned.

Prior to my turn around at the age of 36, I lived a very confused and sin-filled life. Part of my past included a marriage at a very young age which ended, after about a year, in divorce.
I was far too emotionally immature to commit to marriage at that time.

  • It sounds as though this might meet the requirements for an annulment in the Catholic Church, however, I was wondering if an annulment would even be required to enter the Church?

Honestly, the consideration of the cost right now is a huge issue. If this is indeed the way the Lord is leading me, I do not want this to be a hindrance.

Thank you,


  { Would an annulment be required in this situation to enter the Church? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Valerie —

Thanks for the question.

I agree with your conclusion. Most likely the Church would want to review both you and your husband's previous marriages.

If there was some impediment to the consent of either party to both your previous marriages, there is probably grounds for an annulment although we are not competent enough to make any assessment of this. We would recommend you and your husband, if he is willing, make an appointment with the pastor or priest at a local Catholic parish to talk about the issues involved.

In a previous answer my colleague Eric gave, the questioner wrote:

She is also having trouble understanding why it cost so much to get an annulment in the Catholic Church, and why money should be involved.

Eric replied:

Well, many dioceses do annulments for free, or provide help for those who have trouble affording them. That being said, there are a lot of professionals involved in the annulment process and they need to be paid. Some of them even have families to feed. The annulment process is a legal one and costs the diocese a lot of money (think of how much money lawyers cost — an annulment involves several canon lawyers).

Consider, for example, the cost of a divorce in legal fees. The fees for an annulment, when required, don't even begin to cover its cost.

Dioceses can't always afford to cover the full cost of annulments themselves, and so sometimes they charge a fee. Rest assured, this is not by any means a source of profit for the diocese!

If it is a financial burden, I urge you to talk to the tribunal about it to see what they can do. The point is not to put a burden on the petitioner but to have them make a contribution, even if it is small, to what is a very expensive process.


Either way, Valerie, I wouldn't let your drawing interest in the Church get in the way of taking a deeper look into the Church and her Teachings.

If you wish to go deeper, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as Catholics.

Hope this helps,


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