Do non-Catholics need annulments?

Good afternoon,

My name is Tamara. I am a non-catholic christian, and am in a relationship with a roman catholic man. We have been in a relationship for over two years, and have vaguely discussed marriage, although no plans are set in stone. My question involves the validity of the marriage, should there be on…

I have had a prior marriage, and he has had two prior marriages. His first marriage was annuled, and his second marriage has not yet been annulled. Being catholic, I am aware that his marriage will have to be annuled, but me being a non catholic christian, would my previous marriage have to be annulled through the church in order to have a valid marriage?

If so, how would this affect the legitimacy of the children born into our previous marriages?

I am looking for answers because I don’t want to damage any relationships in either of our families.

Thank you for you time,


The Catholic Church holds that it presumes all marriages are valid until proven otherwise:

Can. 1060 Marriage possesses the favor of law; therefore, in a case of doubt, the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.

Therefore the Church presumes that your first marriage is indeed a valid marriage. You would need to have the Church examine your marriage to determine if it was valid or not. This is what we call the annulment process.

When a marriage is thought to have been valid but later, upon examination, is discovered to not have been valid it is called a putative marriage (canon 1061 §3). This means that everyone thought it was a valid marriage and acted accordingly. In such cases, the children of those marriages are indeed considered legitimate:

Can. 1137 The children conceived or born of a valid or putative marriage are legitimate.

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