Getting married to a divorced man


I’m a Catholic and wanting to get married in the catholic church. My boyfriend is non Catholic, willing to join the catholic faith. He was previously married in the Salvation Army church and got divorced. Does he need to have his first marraige annulled before we can get married?


Yes, but the process is a little different and less complicated than if a Catholic were married in the Catholic church and needed to have their marriage examined before they could marry. The place to start is with your local pastor. And he will guide you. You will be pleasantly surprised how painless the process will be, and the fact that you are inviting God to your wedding is the best present your fiance could ever give you. God bless you.


This may help. If your boyfriend was not baptised, his marriage will probably be looked on as purely civil.

Q. 1. Does the catholic Church recognize the baptism of the Salvation Army Church?

A. 1. According to the Headquarters of the Salvation Army, they do not have a baptismal service. They have a religious ceremony that is called a dedication service of children for which a certificate is issued. They also have a cradle role program. None of these are a water baptism. As such, it can be affirmed that the Salvation Army does not have a baptism to recognize.


Hi and welcome!

I can understand wanting to get an answer rapidly, and so posting on an internet forum. But, you need to go talk to your priest about the situation. Internet answers can be unreliable. Both replies to your question thus far are inaccurate, but certainly well intentioned.

The Catholic Church recognizes the marriages of non-Catholic Christians as well as the unbaptized as valid. If both parties are baptized, the marriage is valid and also a sacrament. If one or neither are baptized, it is a valid natural marriage. So, yes, the person you are interested in marrying is already married in the eyes of the Church, and would require a full investigation of their marital situation.

It is not accurate (post 2) that it is “less complicated” for a non-Catholic to receive a decree of nullity, nor is it accurate (post 3) to state that the Church would view it as “purley civil.” Civil versus religous ceremonies for non-Catholics are irrelevant. In all cases the minister is acting purely as a civil witnesss. These marriages are valid.

There are MANY factors that can influence the validity of your non-Catholic boyfriend’s marriage and the way in which his marriage can be examined-- for nullity or dissolution of the bond. These factors include any previous marriages of his ex-spouse (and any previous marriages of any of her previous spouses), the baptismal statuses of the couple, whether either party was every Catholic, and many others.

So, your boyfriend needs to go sit down with a priest and lay out ALL the facts. The priest will guide him from there.

Also, if he is interested in converting (not a requirement for marriage to a Catholic, but certainly a wonderful thing) he should contact the RCIA cooridinator and also make that known to the priest when he is discussing his prior marriage.

I can suggest you get a copy of the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster. Read it together, it will help you understand the Church’s teaching on marriage, nullity, and the dissolution of the bond procecesses called the Pauline and Petrine Privileges.

And, lastly, this chart may be helpful, especially after reading Smith’s book:


Most likely yes. The only way for him (not you) to get guidance relevant to his personal situation is for him to sit down with your pastor and lay out all the facts of his previous marriage(s). There are so many variables it is impossible to discuss all the possibilities here. You cannot be engaged or even in a romantic relationship with a divorced man, because he is presumptively still married to another woman, so cool it now with wedding plans to avoid disappointment later.

as poster above says, his marriage is presumed valid until proven otherwise, regardless of other factors. At least half the advice you get on this thread will be unhelpful or plain wrong, so please take him to see your pastor.

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