Why does my husband need to nullify his first marriage to become Catholic?

I am a devout Catholic. I attend mass regularly and my husband always joins me. This is my first marriage and his second marriage.

When he married his ex wife, he was not active in any kind of religion. In fact, he was never even baptised. They were married for ten years, had one child and then divorced.

When we started dating, he was not at all interested in religion. We maried after two years and had a small civil ceremony. He has been expressing interest in becoming Catholic but, we aren’t sure what will be required of us. Aside from the cost, we are both rather terrified about contacting the ex for “permission” for an annulment. She will make his life even more miserable than usual. She is pretty vindictive and we are worried she’ll do something irrational or get lawyers involved and… it’s a very tightrope we walk with her. We don’t want to give her any more reasons to pit his child against him.

So… How does the whole annulment process work within the Catholic Church? Do we really have to go through all of this so he can convert? It doesn’t make sense but, I am really open to hearing a reasonable explanation for it.

Thank you for your help!

The following links should help answer your questions about annulments. If you have any further questions, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

Recommended Reading:

Why do I need an annulment before becoming Catholic?
Is annulment necessary?
Why can’t I be forgiven for marrying my first husband?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.