My husband and I were married 6 years ago in a civil marriage ceremony. I understand that because there was no priest present it is considered invalid in the eyes of the church. Does that mean that we can divorce and re-marry?
If either or both of you were Catholics under the authority of the Church at the time of your wedding and you married outside the Church without formal permission (dispensation), then your marriage is most likely not valid due to a defect of form. Such a marriage may be easily made valid through the Church’s convalidation process – contact your pastor for more information.
If, however, for other serious reasons convalidation is not possible and divorce is inevitable, the invalidity of your current marriage must be formally determined by the Church through an abbreviated (documentary) annulment process before either of you may attempt marriage in the Church.
If neither of you were Catholics under the authority of the Church at the time of your wedding, then you were not obligated to observe the Catholic form of marriage and your marriage should be considered valid unless proven invalid on other grounds. This applies even if one or both of your later became Catholics.
There are additional factors to consider if your marriage is not sacramental (i.e. if one or both of you are non-baptized). Contact a pastor for more information.