Annulment-Church wedding-Catholic to a Non-Catholic


I searched through the annulment related threads, but couldn’t find this particular situation:

If a Catholic & a Non-Catholic who were married in the Catholic Church divorce can the Non-Catholic be remarried to a Catholic (who has never been married at all) in the Catholic Church?

Is an annulment of the first marriage required?


Once two people are married, they are married for life. If they divorce they can petition a tribunal to see if their marriage was valid at the time of the marriage. If the tribunal finds it was valid, they would not be free to marry again. If the tribunal finds it was invalid then they could marry again.

So in this case, the non-Catholic would have to petition for a declaration of nullity. If it is granted, then that person could marry again in the Catholic church.


Yes, even though she/he wasn’t Catholic when they were married in the Church the first time, that marriage would still need to be examined by the Tribunal.


I am sure that every case is different, but does anyone know the general grounds for annulments-I imagine many get married in the Church, but don’t truly understand the seriousness of what they are doing…are cases like that considered? For instance if the practicing person doesn’t really understand, but gets married in the Church due to family tradition and the Non-Catholic just goes along with it because he/she really doesn’t have a faith tradition? Does there have to be abuse or infidelity involved in order for the non-Catholic to have the annulment granted?


The Archdiocese of Atlanta has a page that describes the various grounds. These include:

Insufficient use of reason
Grave lack of discretion or judgment
Incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage
Ignorance of the societal nature of marriage
Ignorance of the sexual nature of marriage
Error of person
Error about a quality of a person
Fraud or deceit
Error concerning the unity of marriage
Error concerning the indissolubility of marriage

The page itself has descriptions of all these items.


Thanks for this reference.


For an in-depth look at the Church’s teaching on marriage and decrees of nullity, I suggest you get a copy of the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster.

Abuse, infidelity, or other things that transpired **after **the wedding are not “grounds” for a decree of nullity although they **may **be evidence of a condition present prior to and at the time of the exchange of vows.


yes, before any divorced person is free to remarry a Catholic, he must submit his first marriage to investigation by the canon law tribunal of the diocese to determine if his first marriage was valid, because all marriages are valid until proven otherwise.


Abuse, infidelity, or other things that transpired after the wedding are not “grounds” for a decree of nullity although they may be evidence of a condition present prior to and at the time of the exchange of vows.

I so do not understand that abuse and infidelity aren’t grounds for annulment if they happened during the marriage, but not before or at the time. Especially if the abusive/adulterous spouse abandons the family. Especially since you can’t be adulterous unless you’re married first.

Where is the sacramental aspect of marriage in all that? Why would the church still uphold the marriage in that case? It doesn’t make sense and it certainly isn’t merciful to the abandoned spouse, while the other spouse is acting free as a bird.


This line of reasoning supports a misunderstanding of what nullity is and isn’t.

A decree of nullity determines that at the time the vows were exchanged a defect existed. If no defect existed the marriage is valid. A valid marriage cannot be dissolved.

Validity does not mean a person is bound to stay in the same residence with an abuser. It means they are not free to contract marriage with another person.

What is it that you believe a Sacrament to be?

The Church can only declare what is.

The other spouse may be “acting” in any manner of ways. That does not change the validity of the marriage.


not the issue, it is not a matter of mercy because a decree of nullity is not a sacramental act of forgiveness of a sin (that is confession). the issue is–was this marriage valid from its inception. that is what the decree of nullity establishes. failure to obtain an annulment does not mean punishment, either. Yes, it is quite possible that subsequent infidelity or other misbehavior may very well shed light on circumstances that pertained at the time of the marriage–the only matter the investigation is considering–but does not by itself invalidate the contract. the “abandoned spouse” is equally free to remarry if the marriage is indeed found invalid. there is no such thing as one party being free to remarry, but the other somehow being “punished”.


there is no such thing as one party being free to remarry, but the other somehow being “punished”.

I would think the spouse who caused all the trouble, be it abuse or adultery or what have you, wouldn’t really be concerned with what the Church says about the matter of nullity. That is what I mean by free as a bird and doing as they please. They would likely also marry someone else before obtaining an annulment.


No one is free from the laws of God.

The “freedom” you describe is a false freedom. And, it doens’t have anything to do with nullity.


so what if they do? they are likely to do any number of things to hurt their spouse and children, if they have gone so far to commit adultery, but that has nothing to do with annulment, the topic of this thread. it is not the fact of the decree of nullity that causes or allows their behavior, it is their own sinful choice or habit. the church neither condones nor facilitates their behavior by ruling on the facts surrounding the marriage at its inception.


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