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Tina Vaughn wrote:

Hi, guys —

I feel a pull to the Church after a lifetime of having no religion in my life at all, and I have heard that the Catholic Church has many rules. I know from reading questions and replies on this site that marriage is forever and that, if you are divorced, you need to have the marriage annulled if you want to remarry someone. I understand all of that. That said:

My ex-husband was Catholic — he just didn't go to church and when he and I married I know
he didn't have his first marriage annulled.

  • So what does this mean for my marriage to him?
  • Do I need to have my first marriage annulled so that I am not committing adultery with my new husband?

Thank you for helping me understand.

I am sure that I will have many more questions to ask as time goes on.

Tina V.

  { Do I need my first marriage annulled so I'm not committing adultery with my new husband? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Tina,

I am happy that you are exploring entering the Church and you seem to be doing it with the right spirit.

From what I know from your question:

  • You are not a Catholic.
  • You are currently in your second marriage.
  • Your first husband was a Catholic who had been married before.
  • Your marriage to your first husband was not in the Church because he would have needed an annulment for that.

Therefore, from what you have told me it would seem that your first marriage was invalid.

You will need to meet with a priest and verify everything you have said but if your story is complete then you don't need an annulment; rather you would need what is called a Lack of Form case.

To do a Lack of Form case you will need:

  • the Marriage Certificate from your first marriage
  • a divorce decree, and
  • proof that he was a Catholic (So try to figure out where he would have been baptized.)

You didn't tell me the situation with your current husband.

  • Was he ever married before?

    • If your current husband was also married before then we have to figure out his marital situation before you can enter.

    • If your current husband was never married before and all the above is the complete story then you are good to go.

I think you should make an appointment and sit down with a priest.

Mike Humphrey, our Web Administrator, use to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer has the financial or operational means to do this anymore. Nevertheless, if you wish to go deeper, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as faithful Catholics.

If you, or any visitor, has been helped by our work at AskACatholic.com, consider financially supporting us today.

Fr. Jonathan

Tina replied:

Dear Fr. Jonathan,

Thank you for replying to my question so quickly.

Your answer helps put my mind at ease a little bit and I will make an appointment to talk with
a priest quickly.

Thank you again.

Tina

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