Friend marrying a divorced man - questions

My best friend Tina is engaged to a man who is divorced and they are well into making their wedding plans. His mother was Catholic and his father is Episcopalian, and Peter considers himself Christian. They want to get married in the church her parents were married in, which is also the church in which Tina was baptized, made her First Communion and was Confirmed.

The problem, obviously, is Peter’s divorce. He was only married for a few months and according to Tina, one of the reasons he and his wife got divorced was because they argued all the time. Another problem is, Tina and Peter are currently living together. I know this is considered adultery, because Peter is not divorced in the eyes of the church. Tina wants to go to the priest and find out about getting an annullment for Peter, but I think the priest will be hesitant because of their current living conditions.

Will the priest be willing to consider an annullment even though Peter and Tina are living together? How long does it take to get an annullment? And, am I wrong in agreeing to be one of Tina’s bridesmaids, given the situation? She is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and I can’t imagine not being there for her!

It does kind of throw a wet blanket over the whole situation. It generally shows her disregard for the Churches teachings IMO.

She cannot begin the annulment process for Peter he must do it himself. The length of the process depends on may things and could take from several months to several years.

You should avoid the wedding until all has been resolved.

Encourage your friend to continue her pursuit of a priest to discuss the situation, as once done, the wedding may be off.
And you may attend the wedding, but I would suggest as an observer in the pews and not on the altar. You go as her friend, but do not support her in her decision to violate the teachings of the faith.

Let Tina discuss all this with a priest and see what he has to say about it all instead of making assumptions. Yes , he may lay it all out for her as to what needs to be done and she may not like it. The ball will be in her court then.Peter is the one that needs to do the paperwork for the marriage tribunal.
You need to be careful about supporting sin in your friend’s life. How is that being there for her? Don’t you care about her soul?I bet you do. Remember Christ said Love one another as I have loved you . Did he encourage sin? Think about it. Help Tina make things right. Help her stop fornicating and so on. That’s what you should be focusing on. Not being a bridesmaid. What is going to happen if Peter does not have his marriage declared null by the church?

  1. A declaration of nullity isn’t based on what’s happening now. It’s based on what happened at the time of the wedding. Peter’s current situation might indicate he didn’t understand what he agreed to on the wedding day, or it might not. I am not an expert, but I think he can apply for a review just like anyone else.

  2. There is no set time for a review of the marriage. Some are relatively short, especially if some basic requirements weren’t met, and some can take time.

  3. I think it’s too early to agree to anything related to your friend’s wedding because there is no guarantee that Peter is free to marry. I would suggest you support her (or them) speaking about the situation with a priest as soon as possible. I’m not sure I understand how they can be well into making wedding plans without having spoken with a priest…

Thank you everyone for answering my question. Just wanted to do a quick update -

I talked to Tina and expressed my concerns about her current situation. She told me she spoke to her priest. Apparently Peter and his first wife were not married in a church, but by a justice of the peace. Her priest said they need to get a “lack of form” declaration and they would then be able to get married at her church. Her priest seems to think it should be relatively simple and not take nearly as long as a formal annulment would. He is scheduling them for marriage classes and Peter is considering converting to Catholicsm. :slight_smile:

Tina and Peter both have agreed to not to have relations until they are married, although they will still live together.

Thanks again!

The above only makes sense if Peter or his wife was a baptized Catholic.

I’m not so sure that is true. A relative of mine just married a Lutheran who had been briefly married in the past, and I believe he said his fiance had to get an annulment before they could marry in the Church. As for a purely civil marriage, it is removed as an impediment to subsequent marriage as soon as it is dissolved by the state, regardless of who contracted it with whom.

As a side note, I would not imagine the Church would inquire about Tina and Peters sex life, nor their living situation. From what I have observed, it is not high on the concern list.

Defect of Form only applies to Catholics.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit