I am just curious. If you wanted to be married by a judge can you get a dispensation for that? Or would you just have to get married by one and then get married again in the church? I am not planning on getting married anytime soon but I’ve been curious about that and this might help someone else. Maybe I have asked something like this before I can’t quite remember but if so please forgive me. My question hasn’t been answered anyway.


A Catholic is required by Canon Law to follow the Catholic form of marriage which includes being married in a Catholic church (or other sacred place - oratory, chapel, etc.).

The catholic can ask for a dispensation from proper form if the other party is non-catholic, but one of their ministers would have to preside. I don’t think a judge would do (unless he was clergy in the non-catholic party’s religion).

A dispensation from form to be married at a JP can be granted when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic for serious reasons pertaining to the non-Catholic.

There is no dispensation possible when two Catholics are marrying.

If you are in the US/Canada, you marry in the Catholic form or get a dispensation from form. You do not marry civilly without dispensation. To do so would be to marry invalidly. One would have to then have the marriage convalidated.

If one is in a country where the priest/deacon is not recognized as civil official as well as the religious official, then yes the couple must marry civilly first-- but is not to live together-- and then very shortly after (typically one or two days) they are married in the Church.

The bottom line is that any Catholic preparing for marriage must make their first stop their pastor. The pastor will outline everything necessary for a valid marriage.

This is not correct. “Clergy” of non-Catholics are lay people. They function as the civil witness to the marriage. When a Catholic receives a dispensation from form, it does not matter where they marry or whether or not the officiant has any sort of clerical designation.

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.