Is this short-tracked marriage valid?

So, my wife and I met in 1995, when she was in the USA without immigrant documentation. In December 1996, we found that if she did not meet the criteria for legal residence by 1/1/97, she would be subject to an inordinate waiting period (like ten years) to be eligible for legal residence (“green card.”) I am a formerly-lapsed cradle Catholic who has since returned to the Church, my wife was raised Lutheran but practices no faith now.

We agreed we wanted to be married anyway, so were married by a judge in 1996. Afterwards in 1997, we conducted a second marriage ceremony at my parents’ parish without any of the usual preliminaries- no pre-Cana, faith readiness, or anything. Since then, she’s received her green card and everything’s good there.

After our marriage, my wife informed me that she did not want to have children, nor even risk doing so. Our physical relationship deteriorated to the point where it stopped entirely. This situation has gone on for over ten years, and I’ve been miserable.

I don’t have a particularly strong relationship with our pastor here- we are a one-priest parish and he’s a bit distant.

So now, my wife and I have decided to separate. I have no idea if I will ever want or seek another relationship, though I am still young enough to have children if I’m so blessed. I am trying to figure out if I even come close to any of the possible grounds for annulment, as I’d like any future marriage to be within the Church if that’s possible.

What are the thoughts here?

Dear friend,

If you have witnesses to your wife’s resistance to children at the time of your Catholic wedding, that marriage could be judged null. I encourage you to see your priest about this—regardless of how distant he may seem. He has an obligation to help you. Let me know how it goes. You may write me privately by clicking on my name above. You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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