One of the most heated debates of all time is the idea of a legal divorce and the opinion of divorce in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is against divorce and, as such, does not consider a legal divorce to be the end of the marriage. Though the couple may be divorced, they are still together in the eyes of the Lord. The church’s position is that a marriage remains a marriage unless a spouse dies. The only acceptable option for divorce in the Catholic church is an annulment. Usually, for a marriage to be annulled, it must be considered invalid by the tribune. This tribune consists of a panel of church judges.
A marriage may be considered invalid if one or both parties claim the consent is invalid. This occurs in cases where one party never planned to make a lifelong commitment to the marriage, cannot be faithful in the marriage or is not willing to have children in the marriage.
A marriage can also be seen as invalid if the marriage fails to comply with every procedure that guarantees validity. An example of an invalid procedure is if an authorized priest or deacon did not officiate or witness the ceremony. Both members must not be in a valid marriage to another person.
The process of annulment begins when a spouse petitions the tribune for a divorce with a lawyer. Then the other spouse is contacted by a tribunal of clergymen. The other party can agree to either proceed with the process or deny it. Usually, the lack of cooperation from the other spouse does not impede the process. Furthermore, evidence will be presented to the tribune as to the grounds upon which the marriage is being annulled. Evidence may include witness statements. A defender of the bond also acts as the “prosecutor” of the annulment. He goes through the evidence to find the fault so the marriage can be preserved.
These arguments and evidence are presented before the tribunal which gives a judgement. This judgement is then confirmed in another trial.
During the annulment process, certain documents must be filed to validate the procedure. They are:
- A formal annulment petition through the church
- Copies of the baptismal certificates of all Catholic parties involved
- A copy of the civil marriage license
- A copy of the church marriage certificate
- A copy of the divorce decree certified or signed by the judge.
The annulment process of a marriage is quite important to the Catholic Church. In fact, it is so important that anyone who remarries without annulling their initial marriage cannot partake of the Holy Communion or Consecrated Eucharist. Whereas Holy Communion is an important sacrament of the faith, an annulment is mostly carried out after a divorce. Both processes require the services of an experienced lawyer if they are to be successful.
At The Werner Law Group, we take pride in our excellent team of legal practitioners. We have successfully represented several divorce and annulment cases over the years. We are here to provide legal guidance throughout your divorce and annulment procedures. You do not have to go through the process alone. Call us today.