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Remarriage to ex-husband
Question from Natalie on 8/2/2014:

My husband and I were divorced one year ago. The marriage was never annulled and I have remained chaste since then.

We have recently begun talking about the possibility of getting back together. If that happens, I know we need to be remarried civilly, but do we need to be remarried in a church? Can we still behave as husband and wife with or without a civil remarriage?

Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated as this is all very confusing to me.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 8/5/2014:

Natalie--

If your marriage in the Church was presumptively valid, then you cannot be "remarried" in the Church. I recommend talking to your pastor though to ensure that there were no irregularities at the time of the marriage that need to be resolved. Assuming all was in order, then you would only need to be remarried civilly (for civil benefits and to avoid scandal), but you may ask your pastor for a nuptial blessing if you wish.

As for conjugal relations: In theory, you could "behave as husband and wife," as you put it. But to do so while civilly divorced, especially if the two of you have not publicly announced a reunion, will be scandalous. It could also be spiritually beneficial to wait for your marriage to be fully regularized in the eyes of God and the state before engaging again in conjugal relations. If nothing else, waiting could be considered a penance for any harm the two of you may have caused each other or others by your marital breakdown. But the two of you probably should discuss the matter with your pastor before making a joint decision.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


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