Explanation of Annulments

If you are looking at this page, then it means that you or someone you know have experienced a marriage that has failed. I am sorry for the dissolution of your marriage. It is a painful time in anyone’s life. However, it is my hope that through the annulment process, the Church can bring healing and closure to this chapter in your life.

The Church defines a sacramental marriage as (from Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes):

Marriage is the intimate, exclusive, indissoluble communion of life and love entered by man and woman at the design of the Creator for the purpose of their own good and the procreation and education of children; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.

The Church believes that a marriage is indissoluble. An annulment is not a “Catholic divorce”. Instead, the Church recognizes that, for certain reasons, the marriage was not valid from the beginning which led to the marriage ending and therefore can be dissolved. The reasons a marriage might be dissolved are:

The couple did not follow the use the correct form for marriage (if one of the parties is Catholic):

  • The couple was not married in front of an ordained minister
  • The couple did not use the words required to commit to one another

The couple was not married in a church without dispensation

The couple was incapable of making the commitment of marriage:

  • One party of the couple was under age
  • The couple was too closely related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • One party was ordained, taken a public perpetual vow of celibacy, or previously married without obtaining an annulment.
  • One or both parties excluded the right to have children
  • One party was incapable of freely giving consent to make a lifelong commitment
    • There was fear (moral or physical) motivating one party to get married.
    • One of the parties was mentally ill or had impaired judgment at the time of consent.
    • One of the parties was grossly immature.
    • One of the parties had an addiction (drugs, alcohol, internet, etc)
    • One of the parties materially misrepresented themselves
    • One of the parties was not able to assume the obligation of fidelity
    • One of the parties never intended the marriage to be for life

Some documents which you will need are:

Your civil marriage license

Your civil divorce decree

The baptismal certificate of all Catholic parties

There can be other reasons why a marriage can be annulled. However, the next best step is to contact either Fr. Mike or Deacon Denny to discuss your case. We look forward to hearing from you and guiding you through this process.