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Kathryne Allen wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a Catholic woman who is separated from my husband. We were not married in the Church or by a priest, but had a civil union. I have met someone who is also Catholic and am wondering if we can date.

  • Can I then remarry in the Church or do I need to get my first marriage annulled?

Kathryne

  { If I'm separated from a civil union, can we date and remarry in Church or do I need an annulment? }

Eric replied:

Kathryne,

The Church would advise you to get an annulment — which you would need to remarry — before going out and dating, but since you are Catholic and got married outside the Church, it should be a short and straightforward process.

It is crystal clear that your first marriage was invalid.

Eric

Kathryne replied:

Eric,

  • I am newly separated so does this mean I have to wait a year to date?

I’m new to the faith so there’s lots I’m learning.

  • What if I meet someone before my divorce is finalized?

Kathryne

Eric replied:

Kathryne,

For you, I don't think it will take a year to get a annulment, perhaps much less; consult your priest however. It is not recommended to date before your divorce is finalized since, after all, you are technically still married until you are divorced.

Granted, you are not married in the eyes of God, but it still seems to me bad form to date while you are married, even if it is only a civil marriage. Moreover, you can't get an annulment until you are divorced. Perhaps it's a topic you can bring up with your priest when you discuss the annulment with him.

Eric

Kathryne replied:

Eric,

Thank you for the advice. I am in such turmoil because I just met an amazing man who is a strong Catholic. The timing sucks.

Kathryne

Eric replied:

Kathryne,

If he respects you and is right for you, he will wait for you.

Nothing says you can't have a heart-to-heart and say you're interested but you need to finish your annulment first.

  • If he's a gentleman he will respect that.
  • If not, he probably wasn't a good choice anyway.

For all you know, your concern for propriety might increase his interest in you. I'd certainly be turned on if a woman did that with me.

Eric

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