Annulment requirement before dating?

Fr. Vincent Serpa answered one question about annulment as follows:

The Church allows civil divorce for the equitable division of the couple’s joint possessions. But it considers the marriage to still exist…

Is it sinful then, to date a person who was married in the Catholic Church and who has children from that union but is now civilly divorced but not annulled?

Would this be considered dating a married person and a grievous sin?

Dear gb,

Of course, it’s sinful. If a person is married, he or she is out of bounds for dating. Such a person is still bound by a life-long committment to his or her spouse, regardless of whether they are living together or not. Marriage vows matter.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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