The church recognizes a validly contracted sacramental marriage as indissoluble. In therapeutic practice, we are to presume the validity of a sacramental marriage "unless, after examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, [the marriage is declared null, i.e., that the marriage never existed, in which case ] the contracting parties are free to [re]marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged." (Catechism 1629) "The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law." (Catechism 1649) "The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion." (Catechism 1665) This standard is due to the couple living in a state of comittment to engaging in sexual intercourse outside of the original marriage. The exclusion from Holy Communion can be temporily side steped while on the path to Annuelment and/or Convalidation of current union. Through the direction of a priest a couple can be allowed to live as brother and sister (commits to abstain from sexual intercourse), only if both agree and confirm it would not do serious damage to the union.