Do Protestants need annulments?


#1

I am Catholic, married 20 years ago to a non-Catholic in a Catholic church ceremony. We divorced after 10 years; I remarried #2 outside the church. My 1st husband also remarried #2, not in a Catholic ceremony, because he is not Catholic. Recently I filed for a Catholic annulment after my second marriage failed. I am now single. I had wanted to clear the records. I received the annulment and both marriages were annuled.

My question is this: My former husband did not participate in the annulment process, and his second marriage had failed while or before the annulment was in process, but before the declaration was made. I had no idea of this, since we haven't spoken to each other in years, and found out through a friend. I would like to know what my former husband's status is as far as remarrying. Since my marriage to him was annuled, and he married #2 and divorced before the annulment, would he have to get an annulment from #2 if he were to remarry? I feel like he had a ligamen (our marriage), and therefore #2 would be null, but am curious as to what the experts say. He had children by #2, and they are grown, but one of them passed away. We had no children.


#2

Whether not children were produced in the marriage is not relevant to the validity of a marriage.

It is important to remember that a decree of an annulment does not mean that the Church has dissolved a marriage, it means that no valid marriage ever existed.

Canon law deals with divine law and church law. Divine law is binding on everyone, church law (on the other hand) is binding only on Catholics.

In referencing ligamen you are referencing canon 1085:

Can. 1085 §1. A person bound by the bond of a prior marriage, even if it was not consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.

§2. Even if the prior marriage is invalid or dissolved for any reason, it is not on that account permitted to contract another before the nullity or dissolution of the prior marriage is established legitimately and certainly.

This is a combination of divine and church law. §1 references divine law in that a valid sacramental marriage bond is indissoluble. §2 references when a prior bond is proven invalid. Thus the second part of the canon is a Church law and is not applicable to nonCatholics.

All that is required by divine law for a valid marriage is two individuals who are free to marry who exchange valid consent. Since your first marriage to your ex-husband was found to never have been valid, your husband was technically free to marry despite the lack of formal decree. Only the Catholic party is bound to wait for a formal decree.

Your husband is presumed, by the Church, to be married to his “second” wife. If he were to be married in the Catholic Church he would be required to seek an annulment for that marriage.


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