Do civil marriages require annulments?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
My girlfriend was married in a civil marriage. She has a child from the marriage but was legally divorced several years ago. I want to get married in the church and have never been married. Does she have to get an annulment before we can get married in the church.
Any info would be helpful.
-- Francis Brooks (Francis_Brooks@Voltek.com), January 23, 2002
I guess the first question is whether or not your girlfriend is Catholic. I'm not sure how it would be looked at if she isn't, but I've been told that if a Catholic gets married outside the Catholic Church without first obtaining the consent of the Church, then the marriage is not valid as to form. It's my understanding that this is a much easier annulment process because it does not have to be approved by Rome. If she is Catholic and was only married in a civil ceremony than she has to have the first marriage annuled before she can marry in the Catholic Church. I really don't know what is required if she's a non-Catholic. Hope this helps. - Sheryl
-- Sheryl in NJ (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 24, 2002.
The following, I believe, is a reliable principle: "Any time a person has gone through any kind of wedding ceremony (Christian or non-Christian, whether according to Catholic canonical form or not) with a person who is still alive, those two people cannot attempt marriage to anyone else without first obtaining a Decree of Nullity, issued by a bishop after the work of a marriage tribunal."
So ... in the case of your friend, yes, a Decree of Nullity must be sought and obtained before she would be free to marry you. Please pray for patience and that God's will be done.
God bless you.
-- (email@example.com), January 25, 2002.