Divorce, Annulment, and Remarriage for Catholics

Being raised Catholic, we were taught that the Church does not believe in divorce. Of course, the reality is, plenty of church-going Catholics end up getting divorced. As a result, many Catholics may elect to undergo two processes: one in the court and one in the Church.

To resolve the division of property and custody matters and legally dissolve a marriage, the couple must seek a civil divorce in the court system.

In addition, one or both of the parties may find it important to annul their marriage with the Church. In the Catholic Church, when a marriage is annulled it is basically the same as saying that the marriage never took place. (It is important to note that a civil, legal annulment is not the same as an annulment in the Church.)

One of the most common reasons to seek an annulment in the Church is when there is a desire to remarry. For instance if a person was married validly and then divorced, the person is still married in the eyes of the Church. This applied to Catholics and non-Catholics. He or she cannot validly married again in the Catholic Church until the previous marriage is annulled.

To seek an annulment, the individual must complete a series of paperwork and submit various documents including but not limited to a baptism certificate, the divorce decree, and affidavits showing the “freedom to marry.” Your parish can provide you with all of the necessary information.

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