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Regulations for the remarriage of divorced persons

Regulations for the remarriage of divorced persons

Regulations approved by General Synod 1996 as required by Canon 31

1. It shall be the duty of every clergyman to whom application is made for a marriage to be solemnized to ascertain the marital status and history of both parties desiring to be married.

2. Nothing in the following Regulations is intended to deprive any clergyman of his freedom to decline to solemnize any marriage for reasons of conscience. In such cases the clergyman shall refer the couple to the archdeacon.

3. Where either of the parties to the intended marriage or the previous marriage is the parent, child, grandchild. brother, sister, nephew or niece of the clergyman who has been approached or of the spouse of that clergyman, he shall inform the bishop of the approach and of the relationship. The bishop shall appoint another clergyman, who is willing to act, to carry out in place of the clergyman who has been approached the duty prescribed in Section 4 of Canon 31.

4. In every case where either of the parties has participated in a ceremony of marriage with a person who is still living, the clergyman shall enquire about the following:

1. Marital Status:

He shall first enquire as to whether they are legally free to marry by virtue of either a civil annulment or a civil divorce. In the case of divorce he shall require the couple to consult the Registrar General of the jurisdiction in which they intend to be married as to their legal capacity to marry. Save in exceptional circumstances an application after a second divorce shall not be considered.

2. Further Information:

He shall enquire about

evidence in the parties of an appreciation of the Church of Ireland teaching about the nature of marriage and its lifelong intent;

the present connection of the applicant(s) with the Church of Ireland;

the grounds on which the annulment or divorce was granted;

evidence that adequate and proper provision has been made for any previous partner and for children, if any;

whether due efforts towards reconciliation were made before separation proceedings began;

whether the applicants have a firm intention to sustain their proposed union with the help of God and the Church.


Having ascertained the information listed above, the clergyman shall refer the matter to the bishop. In so doing he shall state whether or not he supports the application, with his reasons, and whether he is satisfied with the couples understanding of, and commitment to, the Church’s teaching on marriage. He shall further state whether he is willing to perform the ceremony himself.

The Service of Preparation for Remarriage in Church shall be held in the church in the presence of both parties. It may be extended, or form part of another service (such as the Holy Communion), or, on the advice of the bishop, be amended in such manner as to make it appropriate to particular circumstances.


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