Marriage Annulment

Hi everyone. I am going to be dating my former fiance again. Anyway, there is a huge possibility that we could get married. However, he has been married in the past and so would probably need an annulment. He was not baptized and I do not believe his wife was either prior to getting married. Would this make the marriage null?

No: the marriage of two non baptized people is a valid one, but not a sacramental one.

He will almost certainly thus need to petition for a decree of nullity but there are many possible grounds–he might have been ‘too young’ or lacking maturity, might have been ‘on the rebound’ and thus not understanding the nature of marriage, etc.

Have him start the petition now. It is a long document, true, but the witnesses (people who know him) do not have to appear ‘in person’, and his former wife, though she will be contacted, will not be able to ‘hold up the works’ if she does not cooperate.

God bless.

What does it mean if she does not “hold up the works”. Does that mean the marriage will be annulled? Also, could the marriage be annulled if his previous wife was married before he got married to her? :confused:

No it would not make his Marriage Null, However if he seek Baptism, he may possibly be able to use the privilege of the Faith. Your pastor can explain all this.

no the fact that neither were baptized means the marriage is a valid natural marriage and he is not free to date or consider marriage with anyone else. Every marriage situation is different, so if a divorced person is Catholic, or wishes to marry a Catholic, they must present all the facts to the diocesan canon law tribunal for an investigation and judgement on the matter, which is by no means a sure thing. Until the first marriage is declared null–it never happened because the conditions for a valid marriage were not present at the time of the contract–the person may not marry or date or become romantically involved with anyone. There is no point in speculating on this forum because it won’t help the parties involved.

No, Holly, he has a valid marriage.

All marriages are presumed valid, including those of the unbaptized.

Go see a priest. Your fiance needs to lay out all the facts to determine if he has a case for a tribunal investigation.

Do not start “dating” someone who is not free to marry. He needs to take care of his end of it first-- having his marriage reviewed.

Has he converted to the faith? Become baptized?

No. There is no guarantee of the tribunal’s findings. What he means is that the ex-spouse would not be able to prevent the tribunal examination-- even if the ex-spouse does not cooperate with the process the investigation will still go forward.

That is a more complex case. Your questions cannot be answered here. Each case is unique.

Your friend needs to go see a priest, as soon as possible.

There is a possibility that his most recent marriage might be invalid. There is a situation called a ligamen-type declaration of nullity. It comes into effect when a person marries someone who was previously married, and that first marriage of that person was never declared null.

Here are some references: <<<see Canon 1100 on this page

HOWEVER - your friend** MUST** see a priest about this, because his details may not fit this case, and you could in fact be in a relationship with a married man. You must continue to remain chaste, and not presume anything until this is resolved by the Tribunal.

I only offer this information here because when my ex-fiance went through the annulment process (he was previously married to a woman who was married before him) the Monsignor who processed his petition said that it is not a widely known procedure (it is much faster to obtain a ligamen-type declaration of nullity than the common type), and that most priests who have not extensively studied Canon Law may not be familiar with this. The petition process is different, the application is different. But the priest must know about it first.

Hope this is helpful. But PLEASE PLEASE - have him see his priest before continuing with any assumptions about your relationship.


If both parties were not validly baptized during the entire course of the marriage, I believe the marriage could be dissolved under Pauline Privelege (if he is now seeking baptism) This is not the same as an annulment but pretty much has the same outcome. He would be able to remarry. Here is a quick link on Pauline Privelege and annulments and I’m sure you could find much more info with a quick search.

I concur with everyone else, you need to seek the advice of a priest. As it stands now, he is still married in the eyes of the Church and he is not free to date.

I just want to clarify something though. You said he is not baptized… is he seeking baptism into the Catholic Church? If not, the Church will not investigate the marriage to dissolve or annul it. This could mean you are setting yourself up for trouble if you continue to date him. Please be careful!

This is not true.

The Church can and will investigate the marriage, whether he converts or not, if he is seeking to marry in the Catholic Church.

Now, a totally separate thread is whether or not a Catholic should date-- let alone consider marrying-- someone who is not a practicing Catholic. (No, IMHO).

You’re right, I misspoke. It is if he is seeking to marry, not if he is seeking baptism. Not sure what I was thinking there…

HOw many Catholics are out there struggling with a divorce and thinking of seeking an annulment? it seems as if I am trying to erase out my marriage simply because my husband walked out on me

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