Determining Eligibility to Marriage


#1

I am a practicing Catholic and recently started dating a non-Catholic. I have broken up with men in the past due to my faith. I recently started dating a man who is not Catholic, and does not belong to another religion, but is very respectful of my beliefs. He is willing to be married in the Catholic Church and for me to raise any future kids Catholic. The problem is he was married a long time ago. His former wife was Catholic but they were not married in the Catholic Church but they went through marriage preparation. How do I determine if his former marriage would still be considered valid by the Catholic Church?

I have never been married before and I am 35. I want to make sure this person is eligible to be married in the Catholic Church before the relationship evolves further. He said he would apply for an annulment if needed but I know there is no guarantee the marriage would be annulled, if it was ever valid.

Does anyone know where I could go for additional information on this? Separately, I am very aware of the challenges that come from dating, and possibly marrying a non-Catholic. I am not looking for advice on whether to continue dating him. I am looking for advice on how to determine if his former marriage is considered valid.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#2

It looks like you have answered your own question. He will have to apply for an annulment. Your priest can tell you what you need to do.


#3

I am not sure if he needs to obtain one because I do not know if his marriage was ever considered valid by the Catholic Church because he was not married in the Catholic Church. Would a priest be able to tell if by looking at the marriage certificate?

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#4

He went through the marriage preparation so there's a good chance that a dispensation was automatically applied for and granted, even if he was unaware. If that is the case, then the marriage would be apparently valid on that ground. That has to be determined by the tribunal, however. They would conduct a full investigation that includes other factors that might invalidate a marriage.

I think that the record of any dispensation granted would be recorded in the parish where the preparation occurred.


#5

[quote="Maria1212, post:1, topic:248167"]
His former wife was Catholic but they were not married in the Catholic Church but they went through marriage preparation. How do I determine if his former marriage would still be considered valid by the Catholic Church?

[/quote]

I was in a similar situation when I married. Were I you I'd do what we did: make an appointment with your pastor, bring your beau, and explain the situation to him. Your priest will ask all the relavent questions and advise you guys on his marital status in the Church and, if needed, how to proceed with an annulment.

I'd do this sooner rather than later because, like you mentioned, you don't want to get too far along in this relationship only to find out he's not free to marry. And while there are many extremely knowlegable, thoughtful CAF members, something this important shouldn't be left to strangers on the internet. :)


#6

[quote="karow, post:5, topic:248167"]
I was in a similar situation when I married. Were I you I'd do what we did: make an appointment with your pastor, bring your beau, and explain the situation to him. Your priest will ask all the relavent questions and advise you guys on his marital status in the Church and, if needed, how to proceed with an annulment.

I'd do this sooner rather than later because, like you mentioned, you don't want to get too far along in this relationship only to find out he's not free to marry. And while there are many extremely knowlegable, thoughtful CAF members, something this important shouldn't be left to strangers on the internet. :)

[/quote]

Thank you for your suggestion. I had thought about going to my pastor but I didnt know if it would sound presumptuous because we arent engaged yet. I have waited so long for the right man, and this person is absolutely wonderful, but I would rather get my heart broken now than have it broken later if his first marriage is determined to still be valid and it cannot be annulled.

Please keep both of us in your prayers. I recently had eye surgery and need to have another one once this eye has healed and this person has been wonderful throughout the whole process. I have been experiencing vision loss so I am not always pleasant to be around and he has been amazing.

Thank you again to everyone for taking the time to respond.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#7

Well, I agree that you should ask your pastor about this but I think that since they did not get married in the Catholic Church the marriage would be invalid for her because she was a Catholic. I don’t know what it would mean for your him.

When I came back to the Church my pastor said that my marriage was invalid because I was a baptized Catholic and NOT married in the Catholic Church. My husband was baptized but not Catholic. We did NOT get a dispensation to be married outside of the Church. I know it was invalid for sure for me, the Catholic, but I joked with my pastor and said well I guess I am not married and my husband is lol.


#8

I will keep you in my prayers, Maria.


#9

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