Not sure what forum to ask this question but here it is. A man who is has been married to a woman for 50 years has had a few affairs. His latest affair finally puts the nail in the coffin and he is kicked out of the house. He files for divorce from his 50 year marriage and then afterwards seeks annulment. After the tribunal grants him an annulment he marries the woman that he has been having an affair. Question: since annulment declares that there was no marriage that ever took place was the man having affairs guilty of fornication or adultery?

I don’t think he should have been given the annulment. Now, if his ex-wife were to file, based on his adultry, I think I’d say something different. But to marry the woman who got him kicked out, that was too much. :mad:

Seems he got the annulment on mere technicalities. There was no valid reason given (at least in your story) to say that the marriage was never a valid one. For example, one party may just have agreed to be the “fall guy” (like claim psychological incapacity) so the annulment can push through.

However, sin and guilt cannot be treated like we treat the law (like just some paperwork). During the time he was cheating, he knew in his heart that he was married. He didn’t just believe then that he was - because his married was really valid. One cannot fool heaven like we do the courts. IMHO he is guilty of adultery.

On the assumption that the annulment was given both validly and the reasons for it were truthful, I would say that the man in the example would have been fornicating with his former ‘mistress’, since fornication is that sexual activity which is out of wedlock (provided both parties are out of wedlock).

Of course if the annulment was gained by means of lies or misrepresentations, then the original marriage vow still stands in the eyes of God… and by lying about things to get the annulment that person so doing would have stacked up further sins in order to give the appearance of respectability on the outside while retaining the stains on his soul. He would therefore be living a continuous lie.


If a marriage is found invalid it is because it was invalid when it was entered into, not because of something that happened after the wedding.

Yes he is guilty because was sleeping with women he was not married to

Curious. In this instance, if the woman were to seek out a new husband, get married, and engage in the marital act with her new husband, would she be committing adultery? If the man lied, and the marriage was valid, but she doesn’t realize he lied and so thinks the annulment is valid, would she have any sin; or would it be a sin that it passed on to the husband because it is ultimately his fault?

Good question imo. Feels like daytime TV.:thumbsup:

While he was in a putative marriage with the wife of 50 years, he was committing adultery. A decree of nullity does not change this fact. A decree of nulliity does not declare “no marriage took place”. It declares a putative marriage to be invalid.

Well if you engage in sex outside of marriage it’s fortification, whether or not he’s guilty is for God to decide.

God has hard wired within us all a conscience to tell us right from wrong. So even if you’re married by some crystal worshiping pagan under the moonlight if you take oaths to one another you’re expected to honor those vows.

Well then… we have two opposing points of view about this in the thread!

Probably time to consult a Canon Lawyer.

In either case, in respect of an invalid annulment if the former (now annulled) wife (re)married, then she would not be sinning simply because there would have been no intention to sin. There has to be knowledge, and if she believed the annulment was valid, even if her former (now annulled) husband had lied in order to achieve the annulment, then she cannot be guilty of adultery or fornication - unless, of course, she was complicit in the lie of her former husband… in which case they would both be guilty of adultery.

Goodness… what permutations and combinations a simple question can weave!

In my personal opinion, the word “adultery” covers fornication. Having sexual relations with someone who is not your spouse.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit