Does a person who was married to a non-Cahotlic outside the Church need to get an annulment?


[quote=breckyp]Does a person who was married to a non-Cahotlic outside the Church need to get an annulment?

If they want to marry again, yes.


Marriage is a covenant with God. If you made your vows before God that you would love, honor, obey, etc., then you will need an annullment before getting married.



I would reccomend going to :

I was going to try to explain it myself, but this site does it much better (it is from the Diocese of Lake Charles. There is also a main annulments page at [/font] It explains the different processes and requirements. For example, depending on the conditions, a Catholic and unbaptized person might have a different option than normal annulment (eg. the Pauline or Petrine privilage.) I hope this web site helps.



[quote=breckyp]Does a person who was married to a non-Cahotlic outside the Church need to get an annulment?


A straight answer to your question is no, not if they are staying married. They would need to get a convalidation (I think that’s the right term) to have the Church bless the marriage as a sacramental union.

I sense from the tone of the question that you have more than an academic interest in the subject. I have absolutely no knowledge of your marital situation, but I would hope that if you are married and the two of you are having difficulties, you will try and will be able to work them out and continue to be happily married.

  • Liberian

who is having some troubles of his own in this department …


We’ll assume both were free to marry, and are now civilly divorced.

On its face, you describe what is commonly called a lack of form marriage. The Catholic was bound to wed in the presence of an authorized priest or deacon (rarely, a lay person can be delegated under certain circumstances). If he or she did not, it would not matter whether the non Catholic person was baptized or not.

Generally, with three exceptions I note below, a simple process that is not an actual annulment process must be followed.

There is an investigation and declaration by a competent Church authority of some kind. Most bishops assign the tribunal or another curia office do this. It involves gathering documents of baptism, marriage and divorce. (In a few places, the bishop just lets the normal pre-marital investigation settle the issue. According to the Pontifical Council for the Authentic Interpretation of Legislative Texts, the pre-marital investigation itself suffices.) Your parish priest will know the practice of your diocese.

Here are the exceptions. If one is present, an annulment process is needed:
-they had received a dispensation to do this from the diocesan bishop

  • the Catholic had formally defected from the Catholic Church (this is complex, and the tribunal or curia will need to figure this out)
  • the Catholic married an Orthodox in the presence of an Orthodox priest using sacred rite.

Certainly if the couple wishes to convalidate their marriage, no declaration of its nullity needs to be done first.

A couple who married using the extraordinary form of marriage (marooned on desert island, no authorized cleric, etc.) would require an annulment, since the form, while extraordinary, is recognized by law.

(I’m a defender of the bond with the tribunal of the diocese mentioned below.)

God bless,


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