While reconcilliation is stronly encouraged, the wronged spouse has the right under canon law to “sever the common conjugal life”, provided that spouse is not condoned the adultery or committed adultery himself or herself. Civil divorce, though it does not dissolve the marriage, is sometimes morally acceptable when it is necessary that the force of civil law be used to achieve the just distribution of marital assets and the maintenance of the children.
ARTICLE 2: SEPARATION WHILE THE BOND REMAINS
Canon 1151 Spouses have the obligation and the right to maintain their common conjugal life, unless a lawful reason excuses them.
Canon 1152.1 It is earnestly recommended that a spouse, motivated by christian charity and solicitous for the good of the family, should not refuse to pardon an adulterous partner and should not sunder the conjugal life. Nevertheless, if that spouse has not either expressly or tacitly condoned the other’s fault, he or she has the right to sever the common conjugal life, provided he or she has not consented to the adultery, nor been the cause of it, nor also committed adultery.
Canon 1152.2 Tacit condonation occurs if the innocent spouse, after becoming aware of the adultery, has willingly engaged in a marital relationship with the other spouse; it is presumed, however, if the innocent spouse has maintained the common conjugal life for six months, and has not had recourse to ecclesiastical or to civil authority.
Canon 1152.3 Within six months of having spontaneously terminated the common conjugal life, the innocent spouse is to bring a case for separation to the competent ecclesiastical authority. Having examined all the circumstances, this authority is to consider whether the innocent spouse can be brought to condone the fault and not prolong the separation permanently.
Canon 1153.1 A spouse who occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to the children, or otherwise makes the common life unduly difficult, provides the other spouse with a reason to leave, either by a decree of the local Ordinary or, if there is danger in delay, even on his or her own authority.
Canon 1153.2 In all cases, when the reason for separation ceases, the common conjugal life is to be restored, unless otherwise provided by ecclesiastical authority.
Canon 1154 When a separation of spouses has taken place, provision is always, and in good time, to be made for the due maintenance and upbringing of the children.
Canon 1155 The innocent spouse may laudably readmit the other spouse to the conjugal life, in which case he or she renounces the right to separation .
It should be noted that a decree of nullity does not always leave either or both parties free to re-marry. For instance, if the impediment that rendered the attempt at marriage null were to be of a durable sort, then discovery of that impediment could stand in the way of another attempt at marriage. The decree of nullity would make note of that.