Do I need an annulment?


I was married to a baptized non-catholic in a “shotgun wedding” (unexpected baby on the way) while a catechumen. I was baptized soon after my shotgun wedding and then my ex-left me shortly after that. Was my marriage valid and do I need to seek an annulment? Im fairly confused about the whole process and would greatly appreciate any advice. Thank you in advanced. God Bless.


Your marriage is presumed valid, although there may be grounds for an annulment. To begin the process, contact a canon lawyer. Your parish and the tribunal should be able to refer you to one.

Technically you could write up and file the petition yourself, without a canon lawyer, but this would be unadvisable, since you are not as knowledgable in canon law.


Looks like lack of Catholic form, and likely a lack of free will causing defective consent. You could get an appointment (or phone call) with a pastor or someone at the Chancery for the Diocese to get some information on this. Once you present your baptism certificate and the marriage certificate it will be obvious that there is lack of form. You can ask for the baptismal certificate with annotations from your parish of baptism. Of course it will not show a marriage.


Are catechumens bound to follow the Catholic form? That would seem to be an
important question here.


How is it a lack of form when a non-baptized person marries a non-Catholic? They weren’t required to be married in the Catholic form. The OP’s baptism came AFTER the wedding.

OP, call your pastor.


You need to make an appointment with a wise and holy priest about your marriage status. He will be in the best position to advise you and get any paperwork started.


My mistake, it’s not lack of form. It would likely not be a valid marriage anyway due to a lack of free will.

There is something that is done for catechumens which is to allow them to marry a baptized non-Catholic in a Catholic Church. However, the OP did not say it was a Catholic ceremony (I think shotguns are not allowed in a Catholic Church!)


I read that they were not bound. My mistake that I missed that one was not Catholic.


Was my marriage valid and do I need to seek an annulment?

All marriages are presumed valid unless declared null by the Church. You do not need to seek a decree of nullity unless you wish the freedom to marry someone else.


But it is not wise to wait until one is ready to marry again. Then it becomes a case of “emergency surgery.” Better to do it well before.


Thank you everyone for your replies! I figured I would probably need to have an annulment but I just wanted some confirmation.


A thousand times yes!

My husband and I are waiting for my annulment to convalidate our civil marriage. I have been waiting 14 months since the case was officially accepted by our local tribunal. A total of 16 months since I submitted the application. The wheels of the tribunal turn slow! Get your application in as soon as you can.


“Confirmation” of that information is not what you’re going to get here. Not in any accurate way, that is.

Marriage enjoys the favor of the law. No one should be acting as a quasi marriage tribunal by trying to tell you whether your marriage was valid or not.

The marriage is presumed to be valid unless and until proven otherwise; much like a criminal case where the accused is innocent until proven guilty, no matter what the appearances might be. Under the law, your marriage is presumed to be valid.

No one on any internet forum is competent to say that any marriage was an invalid attempt (unless the Church has officially declared it to be such).

What you need to do to get clarification is to talk to your local Catholic pastor. There’s no need to go searching for a canonist (canon lawyer). Talk to your local pastor. Even if you contact the diocese first, they’re going to tell you to talk to your pastor. That’s why the bishop sent him there.


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