I was civilly married and then got divorced 2 years later. I am now civilly married again and would like to get married properly in church.

The Dean of my diocese has asked me and my current wife to meet him next week to discuss my previous marriage which he says ''needs to be investigated''.

If anyone has gone through this process, can you please tell me what all is included in this process and how long does it normally takes?

He has called us with my previous civil marriage certificate and my divorce decree.

I have informed him that the divorce happened before we could get married in church.

Please can someone advice me.

Thank you

  • 1
    Speak to a priest about this. Call your diocese for specific steps.
    – Geremia
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 20:02
  • I have tried to ask him but he is very vague. They were all sweet but as soon as I told them I had been civilly married before, their tone changed and they look very less helpful. :(
    – user59683
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 6:45
  • Then tell him that you want to convalidate your second marriage. If you don't get a response to that, contact the Chancery at your diocese. You may need to obtain a decree of nullity for your first marriage. That your priest is unwilling to help is odd behavior, and strangers on line can't fix that. (I have helped a number of couples go through this in the past in our parish when I was in the RCIA ministry) Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 18:45
  • Like any library, Christianity Stack Exchange offers great information, but does not offer personalized advice, and does not take the place of seeking such advice from your pastor, priest, or other trustworthy counselor.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


If you were a baptized Catholic at the time of your first marriage (or your putative wife was) and you did not have a dispensation from canonical form, the marriage is ordinarily invalid.

The total of the investigation should be verifying that fact the marriage occurred without dispensation of form and outside the Church.

Secondarily, before you can get married in the church, the Church would also need to confirm your current wife is free to marry in the Church. This would entail ensuring that any previous marriage was declared null.

  • This is a side question. Let's say "current wife" is free to marry in the church but she was properly baptized in a non-denominational church and without documentation (although using the correct Trinitarian formula) , does she need to go through RCIA + confirmation + (possibly) baptism before marriage? Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 19:18
  • @GratefulDisciple IIRC, the Church also accepts witness statements, so if parents/godparents can attest to the Trinitarian formula, etc that can suffice. Failing that, conditional baptism can be used. Whether confirmation/RCIA is required depends on whether the current wife wants to join the Church rather than simply be married in the Church.
    – eques
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 19:29
  • Thank you for the clarification. Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 22:00
  • The person you're marrying doesn't even have to be baptized if you receive the proper dispensation. In that case, the marriage would be valid but non-sacramental. However, the Church would still want to know whether the proper Trinitarian form was used so that it knows whether the marriage is going to be sacramental.
    – Jeh
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 12:53

What steps are involved in Catholic churches divorce investigation?

Step one would be to get in touch with the local authorities in your own diocese on the subject of needs necessary to investigate your case by the diocesan marriage tribunal. Each diocese must have one. To make arrangements to see the person in charge of the marriage tribunal at at diocesan level simply contact the chancery at you local diocesan cathedral. Once contact has been made, your can arrange a meeting with one of the diocesan church officials and explain your situation in depth.

Here is not the please to list all the formalities that are going to be needed in this subject matter. It is a personal affair and as such it should be treated as such.

If you talk to your local parish priest, he can not do much more for you than letting you know who to get in contact with. The person in charge of the local marriage tribunal is always a Canon Lawyer and know the Churches rules in such matters.

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