Converting, Marriage, and Annulments


#1

I am looking for some answers to better prepare myself of what steps I need to take to convert and marry a Catholic man. I was married back in 2007 to a man who was previously married. I was also pregnant and felt like I had to marry him, and he cheated on my numerous times before I filed for divorce. I am a Christian of Protestant faith. We were not married in the church but at the court house. He was not a believer when we married. After i caught him cheating the first time, I told him to get his life right with God before we could work on our marriage. He came home a month or so later saying he'd asked God into his life and about 3 months later he was baptized. All during this time he was still cheating on me and i was unaware. Finally the truth came out and I filed for divorce.

NOW I am in a serious relationship with a man I dated years ago who is Catholic. We have talked about getting married and he wishes for me to convert. After attending Mass for the past 6 months I feel it's something I would like to pursue. A friend of mine was telling me I'd have to get an annulment before we could marry. We are looking into getting married August 2011. I was reading that annulments can take up to 2 years. Is that true? What would be the process for me to start getting all of this done? Is it even possible to look at getting married by then or it that unrealistic? Oh also I have 3 children. My oldest does not want to convert but my 2 youngest who are from the previous marriage I would also like to raise Catholic. Do i have to do anything for that to happen?

Thanks for any and all help/advice =) God Bless


#2

every marriage situation is unique and there are literally dozens of variables, which makes it impossible to answer such a question about a specific case here. What you have to do before you are free to date anyone, much less a Catholic, is to submit your case to the canon law tribunal of the Catholic diocese in which you reside, or in which you lived at the time of your first marriage. The fastest way to get this started is to have an interview with the pastor of your new friend's parish, or the parish where you now reside (you do not have to be Catholic to ask for this service, but there is a fee to cover the practical costs of this investigation).

You submit the facts guided by an interview form, and supply names of witnesses who can attest to the situation that pertained at the time of your first marriage, including obviously the fact that this may have been motivated by concern over the pregnancy, not true free will consent required for a valid contract. All the facts of previous marriages of either party also are important. It may be that your marriage was invalid simply because of the prior bond (your ex's first marriage) a rather simple paperwork process to establish.

The time it takes depends on a lot of factors, but your Catholic friend is not free to marry, become engaged or even date a divorced person unless and until that individuals prior marriage is judged to have been invalid from its inception.

you can do this and most people find the process is much easier, faster, simpler (and cheaper) than they imagined, and moreover find it is immensely healing. You can start by gathering records and information--original marriage license, divorce paperwork, your ex's information, possible witnesses contact information etc.


#3

2007 was only three years ago. In that amount of time you have gotten married, had a baby, divorced, and are now making plan to marry someone else in less than a year? For your sake, I hope that the annulment process takes a good long while. You need to s l o w down. Very often women leap from the frying pan and into the fire. How do you know that is not what you are doing?


#4

It's closer to 4 yrs at this point but yes, a lot has happened it a short amount of time. I am not engaged to this man yet. I also must explain we dated 7-8 yrs ago. It could have gotten very serious at that time except for 2 factors. 1 I was young and scared of commitment and 2. I was uneducated in the Catholic religion and had a poor view of it, which in turn made me feel that it would not work out. But I did LOVE him back then. So it's not as if I'm technically jumping into a relationship with someone I barely know. I also strongly believe God brought us back together. He is the absolute perfect man for me and I have NEVER been so certain about anyone or anything in my whole life. I am not a child making these decisions either. I am a 28 yr old woman and he is a 31 yr old man. Every situation is different and I can see how this might seem. Also we're talking about getting married in a year from now. At that point we will have been together over a year and a half. He is talking about purchasing an engagement ring which is why I wanted to get a head start on things. So I'm simply just looking for instructions and advice on how to handle the process. Thank you for your concern though.

[quote="dulcissima, post:3, topic:213668"]
2007 was only three years ago. In that amount of time you have gotten married, had a baby, divorced, and are now making plan to marry someone else in less than a year? For your sake, I hope that the annulment process takes a good long while. You need to s l o w down. Very often women leap from the frying pan and into the fire. How do you know that is not what you are doing?

[/quote]


#5

I was unaware that he was not to date or become engaged to a divorced woman. I have a heavy heart now as I don't want him to go against the Catholic teachings. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I will contact the parish where we have been attending Mass. Hopefully I can get the proceedings started soon. Thank you so much for your response. It's helped explain so much. =)

[quote="puzzleannie, post:2, topic:213668"]
every marriage situation is unique and there are literally dozens of variables, which makes it impossible to answer such a question about a specific case here. What you have to do before you are free to date anyone, much less a Catholic, is to submit your case to the canon law tribunal of the Catholic diocese in which you reside, or in which you lived at the time of your first marriage. The fastest way to get this started is to have an interview with the pastor of your new friend's parish, or the parish where you now reside (you do not have to be Catholic to ask for this service, but there is a fee to cover the practical costs of this investigation).

You submit the facts guided by an interview form, and supply names of witnesses who can attest to the situation that pertained at the time of your first marriage, including obviously the fact that this may have been motivated by concern over the pregnancy, not true free will consent required for a valid contract. All the facts of previous marriages of either party also are important. It may be that your marriage was invalid simply because of the prior bond (your ex's first marriage) a rather simple paperwork process to establish.

The time it takes depends on a lot of factors, but your Catholic friend is not free to marry, become engaged or even date a divorced person unless and until that individuals prior marriage is judged to have been invalid from its inception.

you can do this and most people find the process is much easier, faster, simpler (and cheaper) than they imagined, and moreover find it is immensely healing. You can start by gathering records and information--original marriage license, divorce paperwork, your ex's information, possible witnesses contact information etc.

[/quote]


#6

[quote="southernlady_rt, post:5, topic:213668"]
I was unaware that he was not to date or become engaged to a divorced woman. I have a heavy heart now as I don't want him to go against the Catholic teachings. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I will contact the parish where we have been attending Mass. Hopefully I can get the proceedings started soon. Thank you so much for your response. It's helped explain so much. =)

[/quote]

And please do not think it is that the Church is hard of heart or that anyone here wishes you unhappiness. I am going through a terrible situation myself and not dating while going through divorce and then going through the anulment process.

Where it comes from is the numerous places in the Gospel that Christ has taught against divorce. Most notably - Mt 5:31-32

[LEFT]

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.' But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

[/LEFT]

In other words - once married - we are married unless there is a death of the spouse or the marriage is deemed invalid to start - for instance in your situation - the possibility that you were rushed due to being pregnant. Therefore a man cannot date a divorced woman because religiously she is still married.

Infidelity during the marriage is not ALWAYS a reason for nullity as we are called to forgive the repentant - unless they took vows knowing they had no intention of staying faithful in the beginning.

God bless you - please remember I am speaking in generalities so you are prepared - good luck.


#7

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