Canon law ordinarily requires baptized Roman Catholics to marry before a priest or deacon. Unless they received a “dispensation from canonical form,” Catholics who exchange vows in the presence of ministers from other religious traditions or civil officials are not considered validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Regardless of what happened in the past, the Catholic Church invites you to bring new meaning to your lives by embracing the vocation of marriage and dedicating your family’s mission to sharing God’s love. In most cases, preparation for convalidation is very similar to the marriage preparation process. Contact your parish to begin this process. Learn more about convalidation.