I say "presumed" because, until the investigation is over and the tribunal has ruled, no one can say that for sure. Clearly there was no marriage." Maybe there wasn't, but that's not our call to make. It's defined differently among different people at different times.
The tribunal may find that no sacramental marriage ever existed. And it's difficult for the Church to be clear about something that isn't clearly defined. To engage in sexually intimate behavior with someone who is presumed to be married would be presumed to be adultery. Is going out to lunch with someone adulterous behavior? Obviously it's not the meal, or the act of sharing that meal, that's adulterous. If these two people are sneaking around behind a spouse's back, if they're being deceptive, if they're violating the intimacy that spouse has the right to expect, then they are behaving in an adulterous way. I think planning or moving toward marriage while one partner remains "unannulled" is unwise.
And, as fascinated as you may be with questions surrounding who gets an annulment and why, there is one big question most of you want to hear more about: dating and annulments. Is it okay to date someone who doesn't have an annulment? Do you have to wait until the annulment is granted? Respecting the Church and respecting the process means respecting that fact. The murky part comes in when we start to talk about "dating." Several of you wrote to ask me if it's a sin to "date" someone who doesn't have an annulment.
So let's take that question on today — Is it okay to date someone who is divorced but doesn't have an annulment? It's a hard question to answer, because the concept of "dating" isn't particularly clear.
But then again, to engage in sexually intimate behavior with someone who isn't presumed to be married would be fornication. But does "dating" someone who is presumed to be married constitute adultery? It's a sin against the spouse who is being deceived. I don't know if it's technically sinful, but I do know that it's disrespectful of the process, and it could be setting two people up for enormous disappointment if the tribunal doesn't grant the annulment.