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Mary Smith wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am dating a man who is divorced. He was married in a non-Catholic Church to a woman who had been married prior to marrying him.

  • Was his marriage to her valid given that, in the eyes of the Church, she was not free to marry?
  • Is he required to get an annulment before he can marry a Catholic in the Church?

Mary S.

  { Was his marriage to her valid given that, in the eyes of the Church, she was not free to marry? }

Bob replied:

Dear Mary,

Thanks for the question. 

It is likely that his former marriage would be considered invalid since he was married outside the Church.  In that context, he would need a dispensation from the canonical form to have a valid marriage, and without it is, defacto, null.  That is irrespective of her prior marriage, which also would have made it problematic.

I would suggest talking to a priest should the relationship get serious, but I don't think you have a problem with annulments.



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