How do I convalidate a civil union?

I have a question. My husband and I have been married civially for nine months now and we have a four-month-old daughter. We are both Catholic, but at the time did not really practice our faith, so we decided to get married by a justice of the peace. Recently I have been studying the history of our Church and all its teachings and I am beginnning to learn things that even though I was a cradle Catholic never learned before or maybe just took it all for granted. My husband and I really want to convalidate our marriage. Do we follow the same guidelines as an engaged couple? I really want to recieve the sacraments again. If we have to go through the six-month preperation before validating our marriage, can I go to confession and Communion if my husband and I agree to live as brother and sister till our marriage is validated? Please help me with this.

Assuming that there were no impediments to your marriage, such as a previous marriage or a close blood relationship, convalidating the marriage should be a simple process. Confession before receiving the sacrament of matrimony is certainly a good idea, but whether your situation calls for a lengthy preparation period and celibate chastity in the meantime is something to discuss with your parish priest, who will be able to assess your individual circumstances. If you need more personalized assistance, please feel free to contact Catholic Answers directly.

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