Sacramental Marriege or lack there of

My wife was married right out of high school for a year and a half. Neither her nor her husband were baptized. Her husband had an affair on her and told her he wanted a divorce. They eventually got a civil divorce. (Specifics excluded)

I (a baptized Roman Catholic) married my wife civilly about a month after her divorce was finalized ( I had nothing to do with her divorce by the way) . We were married civilly. We joined the Orthodox Church (where my wife and my children were baptized) about 5 years later.

A few years later my wife and I decided we might join the local Catholic Church because it would be a lot closer to our home and we could be more active in the parish.

After much research on the dividing issues between the two faiths, I didn’t see enough of a difference to follow one versus the other. Boy was I wrong.

My wife and I petitioned the Catholic Church for marriage. I knew that her former marriage would have to be looked at but I didn’t believe it would be a problem considering neither of them were even baptized at the time.

The tribunal told us that if my wife had been baptized (even if it was after her civil divorce) and her ex-husband has been baptized or will be baptized anytime before our marriage was validated , it would cease to be a “pauline privilege” case because her former marriage would be considered “sacramental” and would need to be fully annulled.

My wife was baptized years after her civil divorce. Why would her ex-huband’s baptism be an issue?

How can their marriage be considered valid if they were baptized outside of their relationship with each other?:shrug:

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