Was marriage valid?


#1

I need clarification on whether my prior marriage was valid or not?? First of all, I am currently in the RCIA process and am too embarrassed to ask this so I am here. When I was 17 I got married in a civil ceremony. Neither of us were Catholic. Needless to say, the marriage did not last and we were divorced a year later. Would I have to go through an annulment in order to get married in the Catholic church?

Thank you so much for your thoughts.


#2

No one here can answer this question.
You must bring this to the priest in your parish and to the attention of the RCIA leader.
No reason at all to be embarrassed.


#3

The civil marriage of non-Catholics is presumed valid. Unless there was some impediment, such as a prior marriage for either of you or you were related too closely, the Catholic Church presumes your marriage valid and still in existence although, legally, you are divorced.

Based solely on what you have written here, unless you are in another marriage, your divorce should not hinder your being received into the Church. On the other hand, should you wish to marry again in the Church you would have to petition the Marriage Tribunal for a decree of nullity for your civil marriage. It’s not a given that such a decree would be granted; the Church may find no reason to declare your civil marriage invalid.


#4

Ok - there is a lot more to explain. After my first marriage I got married again when I was 26. That marriage lasted for seven years and ended in divorce due to physical abuse and drug use on the part of my ex husband. I am currently married to a Catholic - we were married in a civil ceremony - an we are looking to get my last marriage annulled. I guess I am wondering how the marriage when I was 17 played into that? I know it's very confusing and I just feel sick over this whole situation!


#5

You really need to talk to your priest about this- ASAP!!!
No one here is qualified to give you anymore advice, there are way too many issues going on here.
Prayers for you & your husband as you sort this out.

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:4, topic:309898"]
Ok - there is a lot more to explain. After my first marriage I got married again when I was 26. That marriage lasted for seven years and ended in divorce due to physical abuse and drug use on the part of my ex husband. I am currently married to a Catholic - we were married in a civil ceremony - an we are looking to get my last marriage annulled. I guess I am wondering how the marriage when I was 17 played into that? I know it's very confusing and I just feel sick over this whole situation!

[/quote]


#6

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:4, topic:309898"]
Ok - there is a lot more to explain. After my first marriage I got married again when I was 26. That marriage lasted for seven years and ended in divorce due to physical abuse and drug use on the part of my ex husband. I am currently married to a Catholic - we were married in a civil ceremony - an we are looking to get my last marriage annulled. I guess I am wondering how the marriage when I was 17 played into that? I know it's very confusing and I just feel sick over this whole situation!

[/quote]

Both marriages must be investigated. Please take all he facts to your priest.


#7

Don't be embarrassed to talk to your pastor. The Church wants to welcome you, and your husband back to full communion; and bless your marriage.

Talk to the priest ASAP about your marriages, don't hide anything, so that this can be dealt with by the diocesan marriage tribunal as quickly as possible.


#8

Yes, you would need annulments for both of your past marriages.


#9

Welcome Home!!!

Your Priest is there to help and guide you, not to :tsktsk: Please don't be embarrassed. You are not the first person in this situation and you won't be the last. These things can take time, so please get started on the paperwork ASAP.

I will be praying for you and may God bless your journey.


#10

Thank you for your positive and loving responses. I spoke with the lady who is working on my husband's annulment and she said that even though me and my first husband were baptized, the fact that we were married by a notary public vs in a church would make this invalid. She said there is a small amount of paperwork that needs to be done but that it should not be a problem. Any ideas on this?

Thanks!


#11

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:10, topic:309898"]
Thank you for your positive and loving responses. I spoke with the lady who is working on my husband's annulment and she said that even though me and my first husband were baptized, the fact that we were married by a notary public vs in a church would make this invalid. She said there is a small amount of paperwork that needs to be done but that it should not be a problem. Any ideas on this?

Thanks!

[/quote]

This is why you need to talk to the priest. If neither of you were Catholic at the time you were not bound by the marriage laws of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church recognizes marriages between two non-Catholics as valid, even if only done civilly, and furthermore, if both are baptized, the marriage is sacramental. This lady gave you wrong information.
Please talk to a priest about this ASAP.


#12

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:10, topic:309898"]
Thank you for your positive and loving responses. I spoke with the lady who is working on my husband's annulment and she said that even though me and my first husband were baptized, the fact that we were married by a notary public vs in a church would make this invalid. She said there is a small amount of paperwork that needs to be done but that it should not be a problem. Any ideas on this?

Thanks!

[/quote]

I think it's scary that someone who is handle decrees of nullity would say such a thing.

I copied this from my diocese website.

Formal Case
1. two Catholics married in the Catholic Church
2. a Catholic and non-Catholic or non-baptized who receive permission to marry within the Catholic Church
3.any two non-Catholics in their own Christian tradition or in front of a *Justice of the Peace*
4.any two non-baptized in their own religious tradition or in front of a Justice of the Peace

The formal case is the most common marriage case evaluated by the tribunal. A packet is presented to the petitioner to be completed and returned to his or her Sponsor (a priest, deacon, lay advocate or pastoral assistant). This case requires a petition, required documents, witnesses and a Marriage Narrative of both parties lives before marriage, their courtship, engagement and marriage.

Both parties are invited to participate fully in this case. The cooperation of all parties will determine the length of this case. Formal Cases normally take between 8-12 months to complete.


#13

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:10, topic:309898"]
Thank you for your positive and loving responses. I spoke with the lady who is working on my husband's annulment and she said that even though me and my first husband were baptized, the fact that we were married by a notary public vs in a church would make this invalid. She said there is a small amount of paperwork that needs to be done but that it should not be a problem. Any ideas on this?

Thanks!

[/quote]

Yes, somebody needs to tell her to check before she gives out that kind of information because she is dead wrong. As long as neither of you was Catholic, if the marriage was legal it's presumed valid.

This, of course, is assuming that, since you didn't mention it, neither of you is Orthodox -- because that would be an altogether different ball game!


#14

Thank you all! Not that this would make a difference - but it wasn’t a Justice of the Peace. It was a notary public.


#15

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:14, topic:309898"]
Thank you all! Not that this would make a difference - but it wasn't a Justice of the Peace. It was a notary public.

[/quote]

From what I've read, I don't think it would make a difference. I've been wrong before though.


#16

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:10, topic:309898"]
Thank you for your positive and loving responses. I spoke with the lady who is working on my husband's annulment and she said that even though me and my first husband were baptized, the fact that we were married by a notary public vs in a church would make this invalid.

[/quote]

She is, quite simply, wrong.

I am sure she is well meaning, but she seems to not be very well trained. Unless perhaps she was wrongly assuming that one of you in that marriage was a Catholic-- in which case where you married would indeed matter. But since neither of you was Catholic, this is not the case. Whether or not you married in any civilly recognized cermony regardless of whre it occurred or who performed the cermony/witnessed the marriage, the marriage is presumed valid.


#17

Does it matter if my ex was NOT baptized?


#18

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:17, topic:309898"]
Does it matter if my ex was NOT baptized?

[/quote]

No. The important thing is that neither of you was Catholic. Whether you were both baptized, one of you was baptized or neither of you was baptized, as long as you weren't Catholic your first marriage is presumed valid.


#19

[quote="Miss_Cece, post:17, topic:309898"]
Does it matter if my ex was NOT baptized?

[/quote]

No.

Although, that will give the tribunal more options.


#20

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