Faith/Spirituality Forum: Married to a married woman

Married to a married woman QUESTION from Tim on February 10, 2003 I was married ten years ago to a divorced women. We were both baptized Catholics. Her previous marriage, in the Catholic Church, was never annulled; therefore, we where married by an Assembly of God minister. My marriage to this women was a disaster from the beginning. In retrospect, it appears that she did not want (or could not have) a real marriage relationship. She just wanted the benefits of a good husband.
I am now in the process of divorce and custody. Was I every really married? Must I get an annulment? What must I do to be in good standing with the Church? Can I receive Holy Communion?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on February 16, 2003 Dear Tim:
The title of your question ought to perk some ears sort-to-speak :)
It would appear that former wife's previous marriage was valid, or at least it is to be presumed valid unless the Church grants a nullity. Since that decree of nulity was never granted, when she married you, she was still married in the eyes of God and the Church. That would make your marriage to her invalid.
You probably do not need an annulment, but check with your pastor or the Marriage Tribunal of your diocese to be sure.
As for returning to the Sacraments, you need to confess this sin of marrying outside the Church to a woman who was not free to marry. Then, since you are separated from her and thus, I presume, not living with her or having sex with her, your soul will be cleaned upon Confession and you will be restored to sanctifying grace and fully reconciled to God and His Church.
Thus you may receive Communion and live as a good Catholic in good standing. But be sure to go to Confession first, before taking communion.
God Bless.
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