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Bernadette wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is it possible for a Catholic and a divorced non-Catholic to marry in the Church before he converts to Catholicism?

I am a Catholic in my early 40's and have never been married. The man I wish to marry is divorced and had been married in a civil ceremony. He is in his mid 40's but I cannot confirm if he was baptized as a child. He raised his two children Catholic as his ex-wife was Catholic and he has a familiarity and appreciation for Catholicism. He also has considered converting.

  • How should we proceed with marrying in the Church?
  • Will being a divorced parent prevent us from being married in the Church?

Bernadette

  { Will being a divorced parent, considering converting, avoid us from being married in the Church? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Bernadette,

You say that he was previously married in a civil ceremony. Later you say his ex-wife was Catholic.

  • Did his ex-wife get a dispensation from the Catholic Church to marry in a civil ceremony?
  • Did his ex-wife ever contact the Catholic Church before or after the marriage to set things straight?
  1. If the answer to that is no, then she did not do what is required for Catholics which makes that previous marriage manifestly invalid.

    Therefore you can marry him before or after he comes into the Catholic Church as he, also, is essentially not in a previously recognized marriage. Your priest will help you do a Lack of Form case which is fairly simple.

  2. If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then there is more work to be done — write back.

Fr. Jonathan

Bernadette replied:

Hello Fr. Jonathan.

Sorry for the delay in response. According to my fiancé, his ex-wife did not get any dispensation to marry in a civil ceremony, before or after. They married in Las Vegas after the birth of their child. They were living together a few years before that.

They had an amicable divorce hearing and a judge ruled in favor of their divorce more than three years ago but his ex-wife didn't file the papers after the ruling.

  • Will this prohibit him from marrying?
  • Will the Lack of Form be a sufficient document?

Sincerely,

Bernadette

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear Bernadette,

Looks like an easy case.

Go talk to your priest. It won't prevent anything.

Fr. Jonathan

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