I know that even if someone is divorced without an annulment you shouldn’t be dating because you possibly could be dating a married individual. What if the individual was Catholic and the marriage was outside the church? In that case you absolutely know the marriage was invalid and they wouldn’t seek an annulment but a declaration of nullity. Could you date the person knowing it was invalid?
I’d say yes you could date that person.
Annulment and declaration of nullity are synonyms.
The person would get something like a decree of invalidity due to lack of form. It’s much simpler than an annulment.
I wouldn’t date a person if they were not free. This is not something we claim, it is a process the Church claims. If the person were serious about dating and serious about being a Catholic, they would be cleared by the Church and take care of business. It is quite simple if it is lack of form. That the person has not taken care of this is a red flag about his faith and attitude toward what a marriage and dating are. I would be concerned that they had not learned from their past mistakes if they had not taken care of it.
My first recommendation would be to ask your pastor. He would know best how to proceed. But I would also suggest you take some time and ponder why your friend, who’s Catholic, decided to get married outside the Catholic church in the first place. Then ask, what caused the divorce? Then, naturally, why did your friend start dating again? What’s his/her intent? Sorry if it sounds like I’m asking a lot of questions but relationships have meaning in our faith life and we should approach them with due seriousness.
I would check with them to see if their understanding is that their marriage was not valid. If they dont know or are unsure, then maybe their faith is not that serious. Or maybe they are not serious about dating you. :shrug:
Seeking an annulment and a declaration of nullity. These are exactly the same thing.
Secondly, YOU don’t know if a marriage is invalid or not. All marriages are assumed to be valid until proven invalid by a tribunal.