I am looking for some guidance. Although such instances are rare, I am a bit concerned about what to do when we come across another person's profile where the marital status seems a bit unclear or confused.
Marriage is a serious business, and even broader society acknowledges this. Separated is not the same thing as divorced. Being married is a legal status until the marriage is formally dissolved with a divorce. In the Catholic Church, a marriage is dissolved only after divorce and annulment.
While I can be sympathetic to those who are experiencing the breakdown of their marriage and that this is painful and difficult and so on, someone's marital status is a serious matter. Someone who is only separated but not divorced is still legally married. They also are married in the eyes of the Church. As this is a Catholic site, we should be guiding each other towards what is moral and in accordance with Catholic teaching and ensuring that members do not fall into the moral traps of someone else's personal definition of a grey area.
What do we as members of a Catholic community when we encounter someone who has their status as listedas divorced, but in their profile they describe themselves as "separated"? Are we to message the individual to ask them to clarify? Do we submit a help ticket and let the site administrators sort it out with the individual?
When you come across profiles like this, you can either select "Report this profile" and add a note to let us know or you can submit a help ticket. When we receive reports of this nature, we will ask them if they are still legally married and request verification of their divorce in order to determine whether they are eligible to have an account.
Dissolution is a process that terminates a valid marriage. This is possible only when at least one spouse is not a baptized Christian (and then only under very restricted circumstances) or if the marriage was never consummated. Because dissolutions are handled in Rome, not by the diocese, they can be very time-consuming and expensive. For this reason, even when a case appears to qualify for a dissolution the local tribunal will often investigate whether an annulment can be issued first.
An annulment, formally known as a decree of nullity, does not change the state of a marriage: it is a determination that a valid marriage never existed. (N.B. in general it is not correct to refer to a sacramental marriage here, as only marriages between two baptized Christians can be sacramental; however marriages involving non-baptized spouses may be valid).