Do I need an annulment?


#1

I have started the annulment process and now am wondering if I may be able to avoid it through a technicality. My first marriage was a civil ceremony presided by a judge. This marriage was not annulled before my church wedding to my second husband. Does this make my church wedding invalid?


#2

Since you've started the annulment process, I assume that means you have a priest or other advocate working with you. I would address your question to that person since they're knowledgeable about both canon law and your particular case. They should be informed about all previous attempts at marriage so they can sort out the issues.


#3

If you were Catholic at the time of your civil wedding, then your civil wedding is declared invalid by default, so your second marriage in the Church is considered valid, pending the annulment process. In fact, if it were valid, you wouldn't have been able to have had a wedding in the Church, so that should be an indication that since you were able to have a wedding in the Church, that your first marriage was invalid.


#4

[quote="jenn17655, post:1, topic:314259"]
I have started the annulment process and now am wondering if I may be able to avoid it through a technicality. My first marriage was a civil ceremony presided by a judge. This marriage was not annulled before my church wedding to my second husband. Does this make my church wedding invalid?

[/quote]

How did you manage to have a Church wedding to your second husband before you had your first marriage declared null? Was your second marriage in a non-Catholic church? this is rather confusing.


#5

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:4, topic:314259"]
How did you manage to have a Church wedding to your second husband before you had your first marriage declared null? Was your second marriage in a non-Catholic church? this is rather confusing.

[/quote]

As I mentioned before, she said her first marriage was a civil wedding, which if she is Catholic, is considered invalid unless she was not Catholic at the time of the wedding. If she was Catholic, then her first marriage was invalid. So, when she divorced, she was free to marry.


#6

[quote="bzkoss236, post:5, topic:314259"]
As I mentioned before, she said her first marriage was a civil wedding, which if she is Catholic, is considered invalid unless she was not Catholic at the time of the wedding. If she was Catholic, then her first marriage was invalid. So, when she divorced, she was free to marry.

[/quote]

I think that's the case Jenn is making, though. Given that she believes that there was no annulment from the first marriage at the time of the second wedding (in Church) -- that is, that there was an oversight in her (Church wedding's) marriage prep (in other words, they didn't process a 'lack of form' annulment) -- does that make her second marriage (which she's now trying to have annulled) automatically invalid?

The answer, most likely, is 'no'. (There's one exception, but it requires that the first marriage be able to be dissolved, not null, which is very rare, and requires, among other things, that Jenn and her first husband would have both been unbaptized at the time of their marriage.)

So, Jenn, yes -- you'll need to continue working with your advocate on this...


#7

[quote="bzkoss236, post:5, topic:314259"]
If she was Catholic, then her first marriage was invalid.

[/quote]

Actually, 'non-existent', not 'invalid'.

So, when she divorced, she was free to marry.

However, she should have been required to demonstrate that she was free to marry; this means processing a documentary form annulment based on lack of form. With freedom to marry established, Jenn could then proceed with marriage prep for her Church wedding.


#8

[quote="Gorgias, post:6, topic:314259"]
I think that's the case Jenn is making, though. Given that she believes that there was no annulment from the first marriage at the time of the second wedding (in Church) -- that is, that there was an oversight in her (Church wedding's) marriage prep (in other words, they didn't process a 'lack of form' annulment) -- does that make her second marriage (which she's now trying to have annulled) automatically invalid?

[/quote]

Lack of form is not a decree of nullity. It is an administrative paperwork process in the US and Canada. In other parts of the world, the tribunal does not process this paperwork, the local pastor makes this determination of freedom to marry during marriage prep. There may even be places in the US and Canada that it is delegated to the local pastor. So, we cannot say with certainty that anything was overlooked in the premarital investigation.

And, no, it does not make her marriage in the Church invalid. The first attempted marriage (presuming she was a Catholic) was not valid, and had no presumption of validity in the Church.


#9

[quote="Gorgias, post:7, topic:314259"]

However, she should have been required to demonstrate that she was free to marry; this means processing a documentary form annulment based on lack of form. With freedom to marry established, Jenn could then proceed with marriage prep for her Church wedding.

[/quote]

Proving freedom to marry does not necessarily mean anything was processed by the tribunal. In many places the local pastor has the ability to do this himself. It is also possible that if the pastor was required to work through the tribunal that he processed the paperwork without the OP realizing it.

And, let's please be clear that lack of form is not a declaration of nullity.


#10

And, let's please be clear that lack of form is not a declaration of nullity.

Right -- there's nothing to annul, per se. Force of habit: when you tell someone "you don't need an annulment", they usually infer "I'm free to marry! woo hoo!", when really what you're saying is "you don't need an annulment but you do need to establish freedom to marry". And this tends to get blank stares, sooo... ;)

Hmm... really? I thought that it always went through the tribunal as a documentary process...

It is also possible that if the pastor was required to work through the tribunal that he processed the paperwork without the OP realizing it.

Yep; I was thinking this could have been the case, but since it didn't affect the answer to Jenn's question, I didn't allude to it. However, the paperwork does require her signature, so maybe it was just something that she signed, without realizing why...


#11

[quote="bzkoss236, post:5, topic:314259"]
As I mentioned before, she said her first marriage was a civil wedding, which if she is Catholic, is considered invalid unless she was not Catholic at the time of the wedding. If she was Catholic, then her first marriage was invalid. So, when she divorced, she was free to marry.

[/quote]

This I already understand, but that is not what I am after, and only she, if she chooses, can answer it. If she was married the second time in the Catholic Church, the priest would have had to know about the first marriage and have determined it was not a valid marriage before she married in the Church. So there would be absolutely no reason for her to pursue an annulment now. What is the point of going after an annulment after you are already validly married in the Church?

There are some missing pieces of information here. It doesn't make sense.

But only she can provide the answer if she wants to.


#12

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:11, topic:314259"]
This I already understand, but that is not what I am after, and only she, if she chooses, can answer it. If she was married the second time in the Catholic Church, the priest would have had to know about the first marriage and have determined it was not a valid marriage before she married in the Church. So there would be absolutely no reason for her to pursue an annulment now. What is the point of going after an annulment after you are already validly married in the Church?

There are some missing pieces of information here. It doesn't make sense.

But only she can provide the answer if she wants to.

[/quote]

She is pursuing the annulment for her second marriage, the one in the Church.


#13

[quote="1ke, post:12, topic:314259"]
She is pursuing the annulment for her second marriage, the one in the Church.

[/quote]

OK, that is what I missed--it's the second marriage, not the first she is pursing an annulment from. Duh.


#14

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