Faith/Spirituality Forum: Divorce
Divorce QUESTION from Mary on November 4, 2002 I have a friend who was married in the Catholic Church. Several years later, his wife filed for, and was granted a civil divorce. My friend filed a civil appeal on the basis of his faith but lost his appeal. His ex-wife has since remarried, this time in a civil ceremony. I understand that according to Canon Law his ex-wife would now be considered an adultress and that her second marriage is not valid because it is not sacramental. But where does this leave my friend? How does the church address the abandoned spouse in these situations and in terms of whether he would now have grounds for annullment,? Is he considered married for life to a woman who is with another man?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on November 8, 2002 Dear Mary:
The reason the ex-wife is considered an adulteress is because she is still married to your friend in the eyes of God. Thus, your friend cannot remarry because he is already married as far as the Church is concerned.
What he needs to do is to contact his parish priest and ask about filing for a Nulity of Marriage. That process takes about a year or so depending on the backlog in his diocese.
All factors of the person's life from childhood, relationship with parents, dating experiences, courtship with the spouse, the course of the marriage, how the marriage broke up, etc. is all considered by the Marriage Tribunal.
Given the ex-wife's behavior there is a chance that the marriage may be declared null. However, neither I or anyone else can say that with confidence and surety. I do not know the facts and circumstnaces. The decision is up to the Marriage Tribunial who are the ONLY ones who will have all the facts and documents and evidence before them.
Bottomline, suggest to your friend to make application for a Nullity of Marriage. He can begin the process by contacting his parish priest.
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