Marriage validity after Divorce, Remarriage, Death of spouse


#1

I appreciate all of the comments and advice posted in these forums. I cannot find another post that addresses my specific situation. Any thoughts and guidance would be most welcome.

My 1st husband and I were married in a Protestant ceremony years ago when we were very young. We were divorced after 10 years. Each of us remarried in Protestant ceremonies several years later. He remained married to his 2nd wife until his recent death. My 2nd husband and I were divorced within 2 years .

After 30+ years, I now am engaged to a Catholic man, a widower from his one marriage, and we plan to marry in the near future. We would like to marry in the Catholic Church, or at least have our marriage blessed by the Church.

I have been told that my first marriage is no longer an impediment because of his death. Since my 2nd marriage and divorce took place before my 1st husband’s death, would that 2nd marriage be viewed as invalid by the Church or did that 2nd marriage become an impediment upon my 1st husband’s death? In other words, when my 1st husband died, did my 2nd marriage "become" valid and would now be considered an impediment to our being married in the Church?

I'm pretty sure that the 2nd marriage was viewed as invalid before his death, but I cannot determine if that status changed when my 1st husband passed away. If it remains invalid, I believe the Ligamen process would be the proper course to have the 2nd marriage nullified, correct? We plan to work through our parish Priest through the formal process, but we're trying to learn a few things beforehand.

Thank you for any responses.

God Bless.


#2

Yes, you do need to have the situation evaluated through the marriage Tribunal. Yes, your entire marriage history will need to be investigated. Each marriage must be evaluated.


#3

Thank you. We plan to do just that.

Do you have any thoughts regarding how my 2nd marriage will be viewed now that my 1st husband is deceased? Do you think it would still be viewed as invalid?

I appreciate your thoughts.


#4

The best answer is to call or meet with a priest.

Peace,
Ed


#5

If your first marriage is valid (and it presently is presumed to be) then the second would be judged invalid since you were not at the time free to marry. As I understand, any impediment to marriage would have been removed with his death and afterward (now), you would now be free to marry.

The second marriage certainly does have to be examined but whether the first does is unclear to me. Widowed persons are free to marry without any examination of their prior marriage at all. The timing of your second divorce is irrelevant.

You should tell your priest fully about your situation. The tribunal will probably be the ones to determine what gets investigated and how deeply.


#6

Hello,

If you and husband #1 were both never married previously and were not Catholic/Orthodox, and married according to civil law, then you apparently did have a valid marriage to him. It would be considered valid and binding until his death. If your second marriage ended in divorce *before *his death, then it apparently would have impeded you from having a valid marriage to husband #2. Nevertheless, if you and husband #2 were both not Catholic/Orthodox and married according to civil law, that second marriage is still presumed to be valid–by the Church–until the contrary is proven.

Based on what you have said here, I think your supposition that the first marriage would be the basis for proving the second one invalid is a good one. You might be told that you, as a Petitioner, cannot have a marriage declared invalid because of your prior bond (ligamen). Usually, that is true (for reasons I won’t bother to list). But, yours is not the usual case.

Of course, the local tribunal has authority here, not me. But, since you asked, these are my impressions.

Dan


#7

You really need to speak to a canon lawyer in your diocese. This is a more complex case.

Ligamen typically does not apply when it is the petitioner who seeks to have a marriage declared invalid based on Ligamen so they can marry again. But there are special cases.

Really, this is far beyond the competence of us here on this forum. Your priest will guide you and will confer with a canonist at the diocese as necessary.


#8

Thank you all for your replies!

God Bless


#9

[quote="PeggySue09, post:1, topic:313151"]
My 1st husband and I were married in a Protestant ceremony years ago when we were very young. We were divorced after 10 years. Each of us remarried in Protestant ceremonies several years later. He remained married to his 2nd wife until his recent death. My 2nd husband and I were divorced within 2 years .

After 30+ years, I now am engaged to a Catholic man, a widower from his one marriage, and we plan to marry in the near future. We would like to marry in the Catholic Church, or at least have our marriage blessed by the Church.

I have been told that my first marriage is no longer an impediment because of his death. Since my 2nd marriage and divorce took place before my 1st husband’s death, would that 2nd marriage be viewed as invalid by the Church or did that 2nd marriage become an impediment upon my 1st husband’s death? In other words, when my 1st husband died, did my 2nd marriage "become" valid and would now be considered an impediment to our being married in the Church?

[/quote]

I agree with others who say that you need to consult a Church authority regarding your particular situation.

That said...I find these types of situations interesting.** I have always heard that the facts that make a marriage valid or invalid are the facts in place at the time of the wedding**. In the case of your second marriage, assuming that your first marriage was indeed valid, it would seem that your first marriage would have been an impediment to your second, thus rendering your second marriage invalid. The fact that your first husband died after you contracted your second marriage would not change the facts as they were on the date of your second wedding. So, if the facts you presented are accurate, my guess is that you have no impediments based on prior marriages. But, it's just my guess. Again, you need to consult someone in authority regarding your particular situation.

If you are so inclined, I'd be interested in hearing how this plays out. Good luck.


#10

[quote="PeggySue09, post:8, topic:313151"]
Thank you all for your replies!

God Bless

[/quote]

Just three cases there, assuming the first husband died after your second marriage:
1. first valid - now free to marry
2. first invalid and second invalid - now free to marry
3. first invalid and second valid - not free to marry

So the tribunal has to look at the first, minimally.


#11

Yes and no.

If the impediment ceases, and invalid marriage can become valid.

Actually, it could.


#12

Wouldn’t the retroactive validation of a previously invalid marriage require the consent of the parties to that marriage? My understanding is that a retroactive validation is not something that would happen automatically.


#13

[quote="BettyBoop416, post:12, topic:313151"]
Wouldn't the retroactive validation of a previously invalid marriage require the consent of the parties to that marriage? My understanding is that a retroactive validation is not something that would happen automatically.

[/quote]

It would not be retroactive and if the impediment is not related to consent then new consent is not necessary. If an impediment ceases, an invalid marriage can become valid at that point.


#14

It would not be retroactive…

Yes, after thinking about it, I guess you’re right. Your assertion is that the second marriage would become valid at the time of the first husband’s death. The marriage would not become retroactively valid - that is, the validity would not extend back to the date of the wedding.

If an impediment ceases, an invalid marriage can become valid at that point.

But, in the case at hand, there is no invalid marriage to suddenly become valid. The invalid marriage ended in divorce several years earlier. From my perspective, it would take an especially tortured application of logic to say that this second marriage has become valid long after it ceased to exist - especially since it was invalid and supposedly didn’t exist in the first place.


#15

[quote="BettyBoop416, post:14, topic:313151"]
But, in the case at hand, there is no invalid marriage to suddenly become valid. The invalid marriage ended in divorce several years earlier. From my perspective, it would take an especially tortured application of logic to say that this second marriage has become valid long after it ceased to exist - especially since it was invalid and supposedly didn't exist in the first place.

[/quote]

There is the prior attempt, at least. Since marriage is not dissolved by divorce, the timing of the prior husband's death is irrelevant.


#16

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