Do I need annulment if I married in a Lutheran church

I am Catholic and I got married in a Lutheran church to a Lutheran woman. I didn’t get any dispensation nor informed the Catholic church, and the marriage ended after some years.

My question is, now that I’m becoming religious again, do I need an annulment from my previous marriage? I know that while the marriage lasted I could not receive any sacrament, but I’m at a loss about my current situation.

Speak with your pastor. All you should need is paperwork showing that you weren’t married according to Catholic form.


It depends on whether you intend to marry someone. If you wish to live as a single man, then it is not necessary for you to take any action regarding the marriage attempt. If you wish to begin dating and eventually marry in the Church, then it should be possible to document your “lack of form” case with the help of your pastor, which you should do sooner, rather than later.

An annulment is not strictly for the ability to marry. That is one of the outcomes, but not the purpose.

Talk to your priest. It is smart to get the paperwork done far before any romance happens


What is the purpose, then?
Many people have had paintful marriages and even more traumatic divorces, and they really don’t want to rehash it all if they don’t have to.
If I am walking around as a Divorced Catholic, then I am still married to my ex-wife. I should behave like a married man. If I am walking around as an Annulled Catholic then I am single and never-married, and if I choose then I can date and court and marry the woman of my choice.

A declaration of nullity (they are not called annulments) can also be helpful if I choose a vocation as a consecrated religious or enter the priesthood or diaconate. Obviously a valid marriage would be a diriment impediment to the first two, and a divorce wouldn’t be a good situation for a prospective deacon. So there you have another reason for nullity.

You might also consider RCIA. Have you been confirmed? Many parishes use RCIA as kind of a ‘welcome back’ refresher course for people who haven’t been catechized much, haven’t received all their sacraments, or just want to strengthen and deepen their faith. If RCIA is not a good fit for you, then I would recommend another faith formation group for you as you find your way back home.

You would need an annulment, which is just a formal declaration that you are free to marry.

For “lack of form”, it is usually a straight forward process. You would provide your priest with your marriage certificate and divorce decrees, and he would forward it to the diocese for review. They may request additional information, such as your sacramental records, to confirm that that no dispensation was given.

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