Marriage i have any?


Hi there

I am new to this site and am seeking the answer or views on my situation.

I was born into the protestant faith and got married in Las Vegas in a non-religious ceremony to another protestant. This marriage broke down after 9 months. I then met a catholic man and through his encouragement I applied to the church for an anullment. After 5 years it was turned down. I went through the appeal procedure but it also was turned down so what i was wondering now is do i have any options to marry? that will allow my partner to remain within the catholic faith?

I have battled with this and have gotten quite annoyed as I was told by a priest that had I been a catholic and the man i married been a catholic that I would have got an anullment…

We are very much in love and have tried to approach this situation with respect and gain the approval of the church as it means a lot to us both, however after 8 years of being together and time is ticking, im 33 now and really would like children and like to be married…within the church.

Thanks in anticipation

Jane (northern Ireland)


By canon law, Catholics are required to marry in a religious ceremony unless a dispensation is given and such a ceremony is not required for non-Catholics who are baptised. Therefore, a marriage between two non-Catholic Christians is assumed valid and if valid then sacramental unless proven otherwise. Had you and your husband been Catholic, it would have changed nothing in your situation other than the requirement of form wouldn’t have been met, so it’s not the same as consanguinity or holy orders or any other impediment or vitiated consent. You can still “sue” for nullity if there is another potential title (cause). The ecclesiastic court doesn’t examine everything in the marriage. It just examines the cause you name. Please contact a real canon lawyer to talk about your situation. Perhaps someone in the bishop’s curia?

I don’t envy you your current situation a single bit. :frowning: I’ll be praying for you.



Jane, I’m sure someone else (is there a canon lawyer in the house?) will have some better information, but for starters, here’s a list of the usual reasons marriages are deemed invalid: and, better, here’s a whole PDF here that looks thorough enough to give you a start:

Pay close attention to all the stuff that falls under DEFECTS OF CONSENT (Canons 1095-1107): Incapacity, Defects of Knowledge, Defects of the Will, etc. You were married to that guy for only nine months. You were married in Vegas. I’m sure you can find something in there that applies! Dangit, where is a canon lawyer when you need one?

Remember, the Church will never positively prove your previous “marriage” was valid - they will only assume it. It is in your best interest to do everything you can to present a solid case that, in fact, the marriage was not valid.

You’re in my prayers! :gopray2:



Here’s an idea, you have an option of proceeding in your home diocese or the diocese where the marriage occurred. Start again. Go through the Diocese of Las Vegas. I don’t believe you necessarily have to appear in person. Here is the e-mail of the Vicar General of the Diocese of Las Vegas, Msgr. McAuliffe. See what he says




Thanks for your replys - it seems my options are limited.

I really dont know what to do, the thought of going thru another annulment procedure fills me with fear as well as the financial pressure that it put me under. (i am a student) Plus living in N.Ireland it was a HUGE undertaking to ask my family and friends to present as witnesses the first time being as they were all protestant - im sure you can imagine the controversy this caused within my family. Im very lucky in that they support the current relationship given the political nature surrounding religion in my country. My Ex did not take part in the procedure and the grounds it was sought under was not having children and my mindset of if it doesnt work out i can leave…ie it wasnt a life long commitment with me. I was young, stupid and without a faith.

I was never told why i didnt get it i was just told i didnt get it.

Im not the only one who has made mistakes and im sure i wont be the last. It just appears that when i make them i tend to make the big ones that affect the rest of my life lol

And as for leaving him, ive tried, ive told him to go find a ‘good catholic girl’ who can give him all he wants without the guilt and added baggage i come with but as im sure some of you will know and recognise you cant help who you fall for…

I guess ill never understand it all, the church simply wont allow me to marry and I either accept that and move on either to someone else or without the approval.

thanks again

jane x


Maybe I missed it, but are you (or are you planning on becoming) Catholic?

**If you are a devoted Protestant and your religion does not prohibit remarriage after a divorce, you can still in good conscience find a good protestant man to marry and have children with. But your current boyfriend would be putting his eternal soul in jeopardy if he were to marry you outside of the Church. **

This is why Catholics shouldn’t date without having a marriage declared null (either theirs or the person they are persuing). It just sets all involved up for heartache and torment. I am sorry that you find yourself in this situation:(



I was planning to take the classes and convert…and i agree about the dating thing. I did point this all out at the start but like i said before i am and he is only human and you cant help who you fall for. Maybe he should leave me or me leave him but i doubt it will happen as we have tried that before.

I feel (rightly or wrongly) discriminated against because I wasnt a catholic at the time of the marriage because had I been it would never have been considered valid.

Perhaps it will all end in tears and our souls will be saved - well his will at least. How can i be with someone knowing im putting their eternity in jepordy…not a good start.

Thanks for all your advice and taking the time out to post.


I don’t believe that is correct. A valid marriage between any 2 baptized Christians is sacramental and is unbreakable by legal divorce. The fact that some Protestants divorce and remarry does not give them permission before God to do so. God’s rules concerning marriage, divorce, and adultery have not changed. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.


It is sacramental but God gives 2 reasons for a valid divorce and the legal divorce is upheld by the Christian churches.
Abandonment and Adultery are causes for divorce.


The fact that Protestants believe in divorce and remarriage has no bearing on the objective existence or nonexistence of sacramental character in marriage. The Pope himself doesn’t have the authority to dissolve a consummated sacramental marriage.


I’m praying for you. From a totally subjective view (meaning my personal opinion) it seems like you just haven’t had a good advocate to help explain and walk you through the process. As a previous poster suggested you were denied based on what you presented. You may very well have presented a “weak” case.

Proof is required that you in fact thought you could just walk away BEFORE and at the moment you entered the marriage. That is actually a pretty hard one to prove. The concrete evidence just isn’t there very often. Let’s say you had a journal and you wrote in it soon before the wedding, “I have my doubts about this guy, but I’m just going to go through with the wedding. I can always divorce him.” That would be concrete proof if it were dated or provable. Or let’s say one of your witnesses had been able to say, “Jane said to me before the wedding that she had doubts but wasn’t worried because divorce was always an option.”

I was a strong witness for a close family member’s nullity proceedings. I tend to journal and write down dates of events and meaningful conversations. I had kept a picture from the night before their wedding specifically because in the photo I was very sad. I had just expressed deep concerns for this couple to a loved one. I didn’t say anything to them then, but as a witness for declaration of nullity I finally laid it all out.

Maybe in trying to preserve your feelings your witnesses held some things back, both before your wedding and in their witness statements. If your witnesses are not Catholic they may have no idea what the tribunal was looking for. They may have focused on the breakdown of the marriage instead of the inability to enter into a marriage in the first place.

A nine month marriage is full of red flags. For it to break down that quickly has to mean there were severe impediments going in. But the process isn’t really an “annulment.” It isn’t about the breakdown of marriage. It is actually called a Declaration of Nullity. It is declaring absolutely that a marriage never existed in the first place… To positively declare something it must be proven, tested, and proven again. The Church does not go out on a limb to declare something unless She is absolutely sure.

Having had it denied already, I have no idea what options are still open to you. But please look into it. Present your strongest provable case, not the just the easiest or most obvious. Praying for you. :gopray:


A man in my parish has been married twice outside of the church, and divorced twice. Our PP has said that since he was not married in church the first 2 times, he is free to marry again. He has not had them annuled. Neither was a sacramental marriage, just a registry office. Then again, I attend a typical UK, liberal-leaning parish. I have no idea if this is ok or not.



What probably happened is that this man was Catholic* before *he attempted these marriages outside the Church (or his spouses were Catholics. In cases like that, all that is needed is to update one’s documents with the archdiocese. It’s not a true “annullment process” because they already know that the marriages are null and no investigation is necessary.


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