"Married" and waiting for Annullment


I am currently waiting for my annullment to finalize. It is on the docket in the Archdiocese that is handling it. It might be 2 months more but could be up to 8 until a decision is reached. My “husband” and I had a civil wedding ceremony 3 years ago. We have a little girl and I have 2 kids from a previous marriage. We are currently living as “brother and sister” until the annulment is finalized and are hoping for a positive outcome. We often struggle trying to remain chaste. Is there anyone else out there who has tried to do what we’re doing?


If I understand correctly, the fact that you were married in a civil ceremony and never received the Sacrament of Matrimony, the church does not recognize your marriage anyway which would not require an annulment.


No, I think she is speaking of her current ‘husband’ thus the quotes, because she doesn’t view herself as officially married to him, since the annulment process hasn’t been completed. I think I have that right, OP?


The annullment is from my first marriage. I was married before and had 2 children, my husband was never married. My first marriage was a full blown Catholic Mass with all the whistles. That’s what I need the annullment from.


Yup, been there done that:D
And it can be done…as hard as it can be at times!


Oddly enough if you got married, even in a civil ceremony, you are married and are ministering the sacrament to one another. It is your intent, not the legal minutiae, that make it a sacrament. The church didn’t require the presence of a priest or deacon to witness the exchange of vows until late in the 16th century. What your current canonical status is is that the church doesn’t officially recognize the marriage. That doesn’t mean that there is no marriage. It is your decision and your conscience that determines whether or not you have a sacramental marriage.



Actually Matthew, that is not what the Church teaches. For one, someone who is already married cannot marry another. The OP’s prior marriage is presumed valid until a tribunal determines otherwise. The Church can and does have the power to bind and loose so just because the Church did not attach canonical requirements to marriage ceremonies in the past does not mean she cannot do so now. The Church does in fact do so, and canon law is clear about the requirements for Catholics to validly marry. So no, one’s own ‘conscience’ doesn’t determine whether one has a valid marriage or not. You are right that both the parties’ proper intent and consent are required, and that the couple ministers the sacrament. But those are not the only requirements for the sacrament of marriage to be valid.

And to the OP, I’m in a little bit of a different boat, but I am having my civil marriage convalidated too. In our case things are less complicated, since neither of us were previously married. You have my prayers!


Well, let me get this straight:

You are getting an annulment from your 1st Catholic marriage so, in the eyes of the Church you are still married to #1.

You married #2, 3 years ago in a civil ceremony and have been living for the most part, chaste.

I, too, have been in your position. Yes, it is possible to remain chaste. I did it for over a year. I strongly believed that I never wanted to say to God I’m sorry for loving my husband. Obviously, hubby has to agree.

Now, your predicament:

Technically, in the eyes of the Church, you are committing adultery on your 1st husband if you make love to your current husband. You are still married to husband #1.

Technically, the civil marriage is not recognized by the Church because it was a civil ceremony. One of the reasons it cannot be recognized is because you were still married to #1 at the time.

Technically, if you receive the annulment, you are then, in the eyes of the Church, a single woman.

And, you are a single woman, even though you were civilly married to #2. Until you are married in the Church, sacramentally, any lovemaking with #2 would be considered, fornication.

I realized I was in a very serious situation. There were solid reasons (other than just being in love) for me to marry prior to the annulment being granted. I also fully realized that if the annulment was not granted, I would get a civil divorce and live out my natural life as a single, practicing Catholic. My faith is the most important aspect of my life, including my husband.

Thankfully, my annulment was granted. But I also prepared for the worst. Would I do it again? No, I would have waited to marry…way to much stress involved.

I really urge you to speak with the Tribunal or parish priest to get a better feel as to where you are in the process. Perhaps they can be an emotional support. Find a spiritual advisor to give you additional support.

This is probably what you don’t want to hear. It is the truth.

My prayers are with you.


I’ve been where you are. My husband was waiting for an annullment and we lived as brother and sister while we waited for it to go through. We are converts to Catholicism and the waiting seemed tedious and unnecessary…my husband would complain about not getting sex, etc. (we’ve been married for 22 years). It was very tough and yes, sometimes we would give in to temptation. But we would always go to confession and TRY to stay away from each other. It ended up only taking six months but it seemed like an eternity.
Was it worth it? You bet it was; now we’re in full communion with the Church and I wouldn’t change a thing.:thumbsup:


Not exactly the same situation… but dh and I lived together before we got married because of problems with my son and finances while waiting for annulments after he joined the church. We made it about 5 yrs… it was hard… and we had silly “rules” like neither of us could be in a state of undress around the other and it we got too hot and heavy, we would stop and pray together… DH had a separate room for sleeping but could come to my room to watch tv…but at 11 pm he had to leave… it worked for us… and boy were we thankful on our wedding night!!!


Thanks for all the responses. Sometimes we feel very alone in this. We try so hard and at times fail. The failing is the hardest part as the guilt and shame associated with it can almost be unbearble. We are very blessed to have each other and will just continue to pray harder. I don’t think the “rules” were silly Blest, just what you had to do. Hopefully we won’t have to wait 5 years. :o


The “rules” worked for us… and 5 yrs was a very long time but well worth the wait. It also helped us establish a prayer life together… which was good. You are by no means alone… I found alot of support here at CAF during my wait. I hope everyone is as supportive for you too.



If you don’t mind me asking…is there a reason that it took 5 years? I am really in awe of you waiting for all that time.


It wasn’t all annulment time… at first dh moved in because I was a single mom raising boys and my oldest went through a really rough patch and became abusive toward me. He kicked me in the back and left me lying on the floor 2 days before my back surgery. When he stayed to help me after the surgery, he lost his place and me being out of work for 6 weeks all but bankrupt me so he stayed and helped with bills. After that he went through RCIA and then pursued his annulment… then he had mandatory counseling before we could marry because his was granted because he was 18 when he married his ex, and the tribunal determined they were both too young to understand their decision… even though he was in his 30’s, they had to be sure… anyway, the counseling was good in the fact that he learned alot about family dynamics and Catholic family life. Finally when he was allowed to marry, our pastor was deployed and we couldn’t set a date until he came back (he is in the military). Anyway, it was a good exercise in patience…:smiley:


Wow, you both really have my respect. It sounds like you not only learned about patience, but also the sacrificial nature of love.


If I may ask, what exactly made your first marriage invalid such that you require an annulment? I’m sure you all realize that an annulment is only correct in the case an invalid marriage - it’s not just some guilt-free way to circumvent Christ’s injunction against divorce.

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh.Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Matthew 19:6)


That is a matter that the OP has already discussed with her priest and addressed in her petition, and is OT as far as this thread goes. She was looking for support and advice in this time of waiting.


If she does not wish to answer she may refuse. It is not difficult to decide whether to answer, so I’m sure she does not need you to do it for her. Yes, the question is slightly off topic, but such is the nature of forums. The number of annulments is alarmingly high, which suggests some form of abuse (or a lot of invalid marriages for some reason), so out of curiosity I asked this question, giving her a choice of whether to answer.


The thing is that you didn’t simply ask why she felt her first marriage was invalid. You added what could be perceived as an implication that people seeking annulments are just trying to get around the indissolubility of marriage. As a woman who is petitioning for a declaration of nullity, I can tell you that when you are on a forum looking for some support, receiving responses such as yours can hurt. I’m speaking for myself here, but when I filled out my petition, I spent months reflecting on what went wrong in my marriage, thoroughly investigated what were legitimate grounds for an annulment, and wrote 45 pages (typed) of narrative that was of a highly personal nature. If someone were to suggest to me that I was just trying to find “some guilt-free way to circumvent Christ’s injunction against divorce”, it would be like pouring salt in my wounds that were starting to heal.

The reason that I am responding here is because when the OP gets back, I want her to know that she has some support.

There are dozens of threads in the Liturgy & Sacraments forum debating whether or not too many annulments are granted. Those would be a better place for that debate.


Why are annulments such a process? Either there is a valid reason to annul the marriage, or there isn’t. I would think it would only require one meeting of the members of the archdioscese to look at what is written, deliberate, and reach a verdict. Then, maybe a few working days to process the paperwork.

Why don’t we ever hear about “single” people (once married, but now divorced) stuggling with annulments? It’s always after the woman (or man) has already gotten involved in over their heads with someone else. Why don’t people who intend to leave the potential for remarriage open just begin the annulment process the second they file for divorce? Or, are most people already involved with someone new before their divorce is finalized?

I respect all of you who act within the perameters of the Church. I just wonder, though, if on this issue, those parameters are constantly getting more and more liberal, not doctrinally speaking, but in terms of what is being done in practice.

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