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Felicia Nelson wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a 31 year old female that have been dating my 40 year old fiancé for the past two to three years. He is a Baptist but married a Jehovah's Witness about five years old.

She only stayed in the marriage for six months and have been gone for five years.
They were married at the Justice of the Peace.

  • The diocese where I reside says I need an annulment.
  • What do you think?

Felicia Nelson

  { Is my diocese correct in telling me that I need an annulment given our marital backgrounds? }

Fr. Jonathan and Mike gave the following team answer:

Hi Felicia,

Fr. Jonathan sent me the following answer:

That is a perfectly valid Marriage.

It does not involve a Catholic so neither party was bound to Catholic form.

The bottom line — he needs an annulment in order to marry a Catholic.

Fr. Jonathan

You also may have the following question:

  • Why does he need an annulment if he is not Catholic?

One of our retired Apologists, Mary Ann Parks answered this question below, saying:

Your husband's prior marriage is presumed to be valid. A courthouse marriage is not valid for a Catholic, but it is valid for others so the Church needs to see if there is any reason why the marriage might not be valid. For instance:

  • the concept of marriage might be defective
  • one of them might have had a faulty intention regarding:
    • children or
    • the permanency of marriage or
  • one of them might have lacked full consent or discretion

This can be caused by pressure, fear, pregnancy, age, mental or emotional problems — or one of them might have been deceptive in a serious matter [alcoholism, prior unions, occupation, etc.]

If your husband loves you, he will want you to be at peace in your conscience and will want you to be able to receive Holy Communion.

Mary Ann

I hope this helps,



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