Need input and advice for divorced and remarried


I know of a couple married by civil union who are looking to hopefully be in full communion with the Catholic Church. This is the scenario: The woman was married in the Catholic Church about 20 years ago. The marriage lasted barely five months. After she paid all of her so-called spouse’s bills, he decided that he did not want to be married to her and did not want children and just left, in that order I might add. He refused attempts of reconciliation. This woman was eventually told by his father not to look for his son anymore as it was bringing undue strain to his family. This happened after a three year engagement. She eventually got a state annulment, but not one from the church.
She eventually remarried civilly to another man who was raised Catholic, but he never
was confirmed. He got as far as Holy Communion. They both regret this mistake. Apparently, this man fell prey to the erroneous teachings of fundamental churches concerning divorce and re-marriage. They have been married now for almost 14 years and have two beautiful children being raised in the Catholic Church.
What I told them is that they would have to see their parish priest; probably make a vow to live as brother and sister, and abstain from sexual activity. Where I am confused is can the man go through the confirmation process while she is seeking an annulment?
Any input is greatly appreciated.


This couple needs to speak with the parish priest. Give them encouragement and love to continue this process! I had a similar situation when I went for my adult confirmation at age 42! I looked at all the work and soul searching that went on as a sort of penance for the years I was blind to Church Doctrine. It is absolutely amazing what a difference being in a state of grace makes on everyday life.


I don’t think confirmation is required to marry in the Catholic Church unless they changed that after my mother got married. She didn’t need to be confirmed when she married, lets just say in the 50’s.


Theoretically it’s possible for him to be confirmed while she is seeking annulment if they are living as brother and sister, if the priest agrees. But, what will they do if her first marriage is confirmed as valid by the church? Live as brother and sister forever? That is a very heavy burden for most married couples. They really need to seek the advice of a priest.


This seems like a simple fix through the annulment process. The man can be confirmed after the annulment and con validation of their marriage.

An interesting thought though. If they had been married civilly in the first marriage and the civil authority that married them ANNULLED the marriage saying that it never happened civilly, then it seems the woman was never married and doesn’t need a marriage.

I mean just because someone says one is married doesn’t mean they are.

The church generally holds civil marriages as valid until proven otherwise, but in this hypothetical case the civil authority says there was no marriage at all.

Any thoughts on that?


yep, first marriage not valid because he wasn’t open to children?
Bride is free to marry then.


It was a Church wedding, though, so until the Church says that the marriage is null, she is still considered married by the Church. It sounds like it wouldn’t be too difficult to prove her case, but she still has to go through the process of a nullity case.

What the civil authority says, doesn’t automatically transfer to the Church (case in point: when the civil court grants a divorce, is that recognized by the Church? Of course not… the persons are still considered ‘married’ by the Church. :wink: )

[quote=Deltadeliquent]yep, first marriage not valid because he wasn’t open to children?
Bride is free to marry then.

Not until the nullity process is followed and a decree of nullity is issued. Is it likely that she’ll be free to marry? It would seem so. Is it an ‘automatic’ thing? Nope.


Yeah, I understand hers was a church marriage.

But in a hypothetical separate case,

Does anything need to be done in the church if one was married civilly but the civil authority annulled it saying that they were never married even by civil standards.


They were married in the Catholic Church after a 3 year engagement…one would assume that they received counseling from the church about marriage…also a 3 year engagement would indicate that they both freely entered the marriage and understood what a sacramental marriage was…because one of them opted out of the marriage…one reason being he supposedly didn’t want children…( try proving that)…contrary to what some are saying it may not be as straight forward as you think…and might in fact be difficult to show it wasn’t a valid marriage…not trying to dishearten your friends…an annulment tribunal will want to know every little detail about their life…and their family life…before during and after their marriage…and 2 or 3 witnesses giving statements also for the one seeking the annulment…the ex spouse also will be given the opportunity to respond…that could also prove difficult if he has a different version of what happened… they will also require certain information about her present husband…I sympathize with your friends and pray for a successful outcome for them…it won’t be easy.


Yes. The civil annulment isn’t recognized by the Church. The process for nullity in the Church would have to be followed, in order for a declaration of nullity to be granted.


Right. So, presumably, this appears that it may have been a case of deception.

an annulment tribunal will want to know every little detail about their life

That’s not quite a fair way to put it. The tribunal will want to know all the relevant information so that they might determine whether the marriage was valid at the time of the wedding.

it won’t be easy.

Quite the little ray of sunshine, aren’t we? :wink:

It won’t be trivial; that’s not to say that it’ll be difficult. :shrug:


It doesn’t mean anything. In fact the Church requires people to get a civil divorce or annulment before they start their process.


I don’t know how much fairer you want it…they WILL want to know about her family life…parents…siblings…how she grew up…where she met her husband…things they did together during their courtship…about their wedding plans…all of those things are required leading up to whether a marriage can be declared invalid…obviously you are not aware of the forms needed to file for an annulment…I do…my wife is in the process of getting an annulment…it is a much more clear cut case than your friends…and it is still VERY hard going for her…as for being a little ray of sunshine…the annulment process isn’t meant to be a little ray of sunshine


Yes, of course – since all of these things are relevant to the question that the tribunal is being asked to answer: is there any reason to believe that, at the time of the wedding, there was defective consent or impediment(s) or a lack of form that would cause the marriage to be declared null. It’s not “every little detail about their life,” which was your characterization of the questionnaire… which, I maintain, wasn’t a fair description of the questionnaire.

obviously you are not aware of the forms needed to file for an annulment.

Obviously. Next time I’m asked to be an advocate for a nullity case, I’ll have to make sure I mention to them that I don’t have your vote of confidence. :wink:

I do…my wife is in the process of getting an annulment.

Well, there you go. Clearly, you’re the expert in this matter, then. :wink:

as for being a little ray of sunshine…the annulment process isn’t meant to be a little ray of sunshine

I would disagree. The process of re-examining the whole marriage, from childhood formational experiences through courtship to wedding day, is quite cathartic for many, allowing them to see the ‘sunshine’ in their lives rather than the ‘stormclouds’ that the breakup of the marriage brought into their lives… :shrug:


well…apart from your snide remarks about seeking my advice I think I am a better “expert” understanding what my wife has had to submit to the diocese tribunal handling her case…according to her advocate some diocese are more particular for detail than others…my wife submitted a ten page deposition which her advocate said was well presented but sent back as it was not "emotional " enough…she has since revised and sent a twelve page deposition…and she “may” have to appear before the tribunal if they need further information…and the circumstances of her first marriage according to our local priest should also be a fairly straight forward case for annulment…her advocate also said her case meets more than one of the impediments for an annulment…unfortunately annulments are not handled by our diocese but are sent to another…so while our local priest and advocate are offering that ray of “sunshine”… she is hoping and praying that the tribunal will start to show a little ray of sunshine on her case also…until then there is only doubt and cloudiness…I’ll leave it at that and once again pray that your friends have a successful outcome .


I meant Hopalongs friends


As someone who is in the process of annulment I have to say I think the poster you quoted is quite accurate in his assessment of the petition some diocese use. My diocese certainly asked for every little detail of my life before, during, and after marriage. Actually, looking over it again, there were many more questions about my childhood and teen years and again about the shared conjugal life than there were about the lead-up to the ceremony and the ceremony itself. I attribute that to the Tribunal looking for supporting evidence that no real marriage took place and that a marital bond was never properly established. :shrug:

As for cathartic and healing? Somewhat. It was actually a bit depressing. I had to get into the head of the person I was 20 years ago and remember one of the most miserable, dark, and hopeless times of my life. Not the divorce, the “marriage”!

I am the exact opposite of someone remembering the sunshine of my former civil “marriage” and the clouds a divorce brought. The day I married was one of the unhappiest days of my life for many reasons, but the day the divorce became final I was floating on cloud nine and felt real hope for the first time in years.

Did I learn something? Absolutely! I knew all along the marriage was a sham (I got pregnant due to an ABC failure and felt I had to marry the father even though I didn’t like him as a person and never would have married a man like him otherwise.), but I didn’t realize that my ex and I were more like casual acquaintances than even BF/GF’s usually are until I was filling out the papers. I had a somewhat hard time answering the questions asked about my ex because I simply didn’t know. I’d never bothered to find out what he thought or felt or believed because I wasn’t interested in him as a person. I already knew enough to know I didn’t want to know more, if that makes any sense.

I must agree here. I have taken some time to look at multiple diocese websites and peruse their annulment questionnaires. Most of them didn’t seem nearly as detailed as the one I was required to fill out.

Our diocese goes through parents and near family member relationships (were there affairs? divorces? what did they teach you re: marriage? etc etc) Then the papers went on to ask very detailed questions about my childhood and teen years. They asked for details about my courtship and “marriage” including questions about the lead up to the ceremony and the day itself.

They go on to ask even more detailed questions about marital life including sexual practices and sexual satisfaction (did we deny each other sex? were there affairs? were any practices introduced by one spouse the other disliked and what were they?, was there contraception?, were we satisfied with our sex life? did our feelings change and why…just as a small example of the questions regarding sex alone!). They wanted to know how we functioned as a couple, was there abuse (physical, emotional, drug use etc.) did we share any interests and hobbies, did one spouse work too much or too little, was there a dominant spouse, who was it, who provided financially, who was most responsible for running the household…on and on. Then I had to answer the same questions again based on what I believe my ex thought and felt.

My initial questionnaire was 12 pages long unanswered and was 19 pages long after I finished filling it in. Once the case was accepted I was sent two additional questionnaires, one 12 questions and the other 8 questions, that I was asked to fill out and send back with my signature on the formal petition.


exactly what my wife has been going through…thank you…and God bless you that your case is soon resolved and you can experience the joy of receiving the Eucharist and the fullness of the Catholic faith:)


After she gets an annulment. That is unless her ex is no longer alive.


Are thought of as sacramental? I dont think so. My wife’s first marriage was by a JP and it took us a very short time to have it “annulled”. According to the church where we married it isnt even called annulment. I cant remember what they call it.

But in the case of this couple, it seems she and her first husband were sacramentally married.

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