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Parental obligations remain after a marriage may be declared null. A person cannot know today if they might want to marry in the future when crucial witnesses may be deceased or their own memories may have dimmed.Why does the Catholic Church require an intended spouse, who is divorced but not Catholic, to obtain a declaration of nullity before marrying in the Catholic Church? “Annulment” is an unfortunate word that is sometimes used to refer to a Catholic “declaration of nullity.” Actually, nothing is made null through the process.Rather, a Church tribunal (a Catholic Church court) declares that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union.Fees are typically payable over time, and may be reduced or even waived in cases of financial difficulty.Other expenses may be incurred when consultation with medical, psychological, or other experts is needed, or if you obtain the services of a private canon lawyer to represent you. Your parish can provide the information and forms that you need to get started.
A declaration of nullity does not deny that a relationship existed.
The tribunal process seeks to determine if something essential was missing at the moment of consent, that is, the time of the wedding. The person who is asking for the declaration of nullity – the petitioner – submits written testimony about the marriage and a list of persons who are familiar with the marriage.
If so, the Church can declare that a valid marriage was never actually brought about on the wedding day. These people must be willing to answer questions about the spouses and the marriage.
Based upon the information that was submitted, a tribunal official will determine the process that is to be followed.
Regardless of the selected process, both the petitioner and the respondent will be able to read the testimony submitted, except that protected by civil law (for example, counseling records).