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Amy Anonymous wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question about the sacrament of Marriage. I am planning a Church wedding next year and have met several times with the priest.

I'm embarrassed to tell the priest that legally my fiancé and I have already gotten married, so he can adopt my kids. There is a year wait so this way he can adopt them at the time of our real wedding.

We don't live as a married couple and our friends/family only know we are engaged.

I'm not sure how to tell the priest that we won't be signing the marriage license.

  • Will he be upset?


  { How do I tell the priest we won't be signing the marriage license, since we are already married? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear Anonymous,

Honestly, this is a very common thing and the priest has dealt with it many times in the past.
He might be confused as to why you waited so long to tell him but only mildly.

Your wedding is a validation of what was done civilly. Some people call it a convalidation.
It is the same thing.

You will need to give a copy of your marriage license to the priest prior to the wedding.

The priest will be impressed that you are living apart until the wedding and there is no reason to tell you friends and family — the wedding is the same.

Don't worry — just tell him.

Fr. Jonathan

Bob replied:

Dear friend,

This kind of things more frequently than you know and I'm sure your priest will understand.
Most priests have seen it all. I think being embarrassed will quickly fade once you get it over with.

The fact is, you are not married in the sacramental sense, so it isn't about the marriage license anyway. In any case, there will be paperwork from the Church to complete as well, so you will do some signing. This will essentially be a validation. I am assuming you have had an annulment from your former marriage so there will be no impediments for you or your husband. Your priest will walk you through the requirements.

I commend you for trying to do things right in the way you saw best for your children, and not living together as husband and wife. Too many choose to do that anyway and weaken the bond of Marriage in the long run. God will surely credit you for that and He will bless your union, especially when you keep Him right in the middle of your marriage.

Best wishes and God bless you,

Bob Kirby

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