Can One Marry a Divorced Woman

If a woman divorced her husband because he cheated on her. Can I marry her? If I married her would that be an act of adultery?

You Both need to talk to your priest. There are many things you do not give us to digest here.
Details are everything in this type of matter. Even so, you as a catholic must obey the rules in regard to getting married in the church.
If you were truly serious about marrying this woman, you would be asking the priest and not the peanut gallery about this.

Calm down…Im just making this up…its not real. Sorry.

I’m not Catholic but I’m thinking of becoming Catholic. I thought about asking a woman out on a date last year who was divorced but decided not too because of:
Matthew 5:32
32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery"

So am I reading this right. If I marry a divorced woman…I therefore commit adultery.

How are you reading this?


That is correct. And it doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or not. Sin is sin, independent of religious affiliation.

You know, I was just wondering about this today. I always thought you were not suppose to get divorced regardless. But the verse says with the exception of cheating? Can anyone clarify?

Yes, literally.

I’m kind of confused. Matthew 5:32 (32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery")

If a wife cheats on her husband…the husband can divorce her…But can he re-marry?
What if it was the husband who cheated on the wife…can the wife lawfully divorce the husband? If she did divorce him, can she re-marry?

The best answer will come from someone with authority to render a judgment, not strangers, however well-intentioned, on an internet forum.

Remember, this is your immortal soul that you’re dealing with… Heaven and Hell are at stake… and eternity is one Hell of a long time.

Check the situation with a priest and take things from there.

Some would argue that the context that Jesus is talking about is an invalid marriage. The word “divorce” is used because of historical context, and in today’s context annulment would be more fitting.

To add:
I looked up the passage again and some older texts says “except for fornication”. Now fornication is sex BEFORE marriage. So it does point to an act prior to a marriage that would invalidate a marriage, rather than an adulterous act during marriage.

no and yes
She is validly married unless and until it is proven otherwise, and you can neither marry nor even date her until her status is resolved, and the canon law tribunal investigates her first marriage and finds it was null from its inception. What happened after the wedding is irrelevant, although it may shed light on the situation that pertained at the time vows were exchanged. there are literally dozens of factors that affect the answer as each marriage situation is unique. It is impossible to decide the matter here which is why a formal investigation is necessary. the lady must initiate the process, nothing you can do except remain a supportive friend–not a romantic interest–in the meantime.

Alright…thanks everyone. I guess for now on I will avoid divorced women.

Unless the husband has passed away after the divorce, which would have naturally ended the marriage.

Or she has sought and received a declaration of nullity from the Marriage Tribunal. (popularly referred to as - “She got an annullment.”)

No, it doesn’t. It says, except in the case of an unlawful (null) marriage - that is, if the marriage itself is not lawful.

If the original marriage was null, and then the two got divorced, since neither of them had ever been lawfully married before, they could be married for the first time, to someone else.

You would discern whether the original marriage was null or not, with the help of the Marriage Tribunal. They examine the case, and then give you an official ruling, whether it was null or not.

One cannot remarry however there can be separation (civil separation or divorce):

Haydock commentary on Douay-Rhiems:

Matt 5:32 But I say to you: that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.

Ver. 32. Excepting the cause of fornication. A divorce or separation as to bed and board, may be permitted for some weighty causes in Christian marriages; but even then, he that marrieth her that is dismissed, commits adultery. As to this, there is no exception. The bond of marriage is perpetual; and what God hath joined, no power on earth can separate. See again Matthew xix. 9. (Witham) — The knot of marriage is so sacred a tie, that the separation of the parties cannot loosen it, it being not lawful for either of the parties to marry again upon a divorce. (St. Augustine, de bon. conjug. chap. vii.) (Bristow)

Latin Church Canon Law (CIC)
Can. 1152 §1. Although it is earnestly recommended that a spouse, moved by Christian charity and concerned for the good of the family, not refuse forgiveness to an adulterous partner and not disrupt conjugal life, nevertheless, if the spouse did not condone the fault of the other expressly or tacitly, the spouse has the right to sever conjugal living unless the spouse consented to the adultery, gave cause for it, or also committed adultery.
§2. Tacit condonation exists if the innocent spouse has had marital relations voluntarily with the other spouse after having become certain of the adultery. It is presumed, moreover, if the spouse observed conjugal living for six months and did not make recourse to the ecclesiastical or civil authority.
§3. If the innocent spouse has severed conjugal living voluntarily, the spouse is to introduce a cause for separation within six months to the competent ecclesiastical authority which, after having investigated all the circumstances, is to consider carefully whether the innocent spouse can be moved to forgive the fault and not to prolong the separation permanently.

The short answer is:

No, you cannot marry someone who has been married and then divorced.

However, there are certain exceptions:

You can marry someone if they have been separated from their spouse who has since died.

Also, I wonder what would happen in the case that the original marriage was not recognised by the Church.

If the Catholic Church does not recognize a prior marriage, then it is not a hinderance, but a tribunal would have to determine that it was invalid, or for lack of form, a documentary process; because a celebrated marriage is presumed valid until know to be otherwise.

You still have to have the marriage evaluated as if its an Annulment and the Church will tell you if there was a valid marriage or not.

Right. You can’t remarry without documentation from the Tribunal that the prior wedding did not result in a marriage, even if it’s “obvious” that it didn’t, because there can, at times, be factors that the person making the petition might not have been aware of - for example, in the case of an outdoor wedding - normally, this would be invalid - except that, one member of the couple may have received permission from the Bishop, without having let the other one know about it (didn’t think it was important enough to mention, for example, or thought that someone else was telling the other person about it). The Tribunal has the means to track down these sorts of things.

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