Do I need an annulment if I had a civil marriage?

I am a practicing Catholic and will be divorced within the next few weeks.

I was married to an athiest for 5 years in a civil ceremony (quickie wedding done by a judge in Chicago) who would argue against me attending mass and would not allow our daughter to be baptised.

I am wondering if I decide to marry again in the future to a Catholic and wish to be married by a priest, would this require me to first seek out an annullment?

Also, if I start a new relationship following this divorce does this mean I will be excommunicated? What reprocussions are there for me, as I have been separated for a long time and have met a wonderful Catholic man who I really do feel I will marry,


The Church does not recognize civil marriages as valid. Should you wish to marry in the Church, the marriage tribunal would have to verify the invalidity of that marriage. This would be an easy and brief matter. See your priest about this.

As for receiving the sacraments, all you have to do is go to Confession and you may receive Holy Communion again.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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