EWTN Catholic Q&A
Is Marriage Valid or Annulment Required?
Question from Anne on 09-10-2012:

A Catholic friend just found out from her husband that he was married when they were married almost 20 years ago. His wife has since died. He has been unfaithful to her in the past too and is now wondering about what her obligations are. Is her marriage valid in the eyes of the church? Does she require an annulment?

Answer by Robert J. Flummerfelt, J.C.L. on 09-10-2012:

Hi Anne,

Thank you for your question. If this husband and current wife married in the Catholic Church (and his other union was outside of the Church - depending upon his baptismal status) this marriage may or may not be invalid. More facts are needed from this question. Also, if there was infidelity, there is a difference between an abuse of the good of fidelity and an intention against that good - the former does not invalidate, the latter does.

As to her obligations, well, if she married her husband in the Catholic Church, that union is presumed to be valid until and unless a Tribunal declares otherwise.

Peace and blessings, Bob