Do I need an annulment?

HI…

I was married to a wonderful man for 28 years and sadly was suddenly widowed several years ago. A couple years afterward, I married a non-practicing catholic whom was previously divorced. He did NOT have an annulment from his first marriage and we were married in a civil ceremony. We were married less than 2 years start to finished. I petitioned for and was granted a civil divorce. I would like to move on with my life and perhaps someday even remarry. However, I have heard SEVERAL opinions on if I need an annulment, “defect of form” or nothing at all. Can someone please clarify this for me. THANK YOU!!
JFW

Marriage lasts “until death does us part.” If one of the spouses dies, the other is free to re-marry.

As a Catholic you were bound by canon law to be married in the Church. You did not do so, thus your second marriage is invalid due to defective form. All you currently need to do is go to confess this and you’ll be in good standing with the Church.

Should you chose to get married at some point in the future, your most recent civil marriage will need a decree of defective form from the local tribunal. Its essentially just paperwork that establishes your civil marriage was never validated in the Church and thus is invalid. There is no investigation into the marriage itself, just an establishment of facts that the marriage was only civil and never validated.

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