While it would be impossible to answer all your questions on this site, we believe the questions listed below are among the more commonly asked. Hopefully the answers given will be of some assistance to you. You are of course welcome and encouraged to contact us for further information.
- If he/she gets an annulment can I get one too?
What about children?
How can it be said "there never was a marriage?"
Can I remarry if a decree is granted?
What is the Appeals Tribunal?
How much does it cost?
Can I object to the investigation?
A declaration of Nullity applies to the Marriage itself not the parties. In other words, if the marriage is declared invalid, the decision involves both parties.
The Church or The State does not view children as illegitimate. While the couple attempted marriage, it is presumed they did so in good faith. It should be remembered that a Church Decree of Nullity has no effect in Civil Law. It is important to point out to people nonetheless that they need, in time, to discuss the issue with their children insofar as age and understanding allows.
It is also advisable to contact a solicitor for advice on legal matters such as legal separation, custody of children, civil nullity or divorce.
A Decree of Nullity means that a "valid" marriage never existed. It does not seek to deny either the existence of, or the respect that is due to, the relationship that did exist. Indeed the invalid marriage usually continues to give rise to certain obligations even after a declaration of nullity has been made. It would certainly be wrong to suggest that the invalid marriage had been a figment of people’s imagination.
A Decree of Nullity says that a Marriage was not valid. Therefore, in the eyes of the Church both parties are now unmarried (single) and thus free to enter marriage. There may be, on occasion, a caution attached regarding future marriage. This would involve cases where it is felt that the problems encountered in one union are likely to recur in another.
It must be remembered that the Law of the State must be adhered to if another marriage is contemplated.
It is not sufficient that any one Regional Tribunal declares a marriage to have been null and void. There exists, at national level, another Tribunal called the National Marriage Appeals Tribunal. In the event of an affirmative decision being reached at Regional level, the decision must be ratified by the Appeal Tribunal. Only on ratification of the decision of the Regional Tribunal by the National Marriage Appeal Tribunal, is a Decree of Nullity issued. Cases are taking approximately twelve months at Appeals Level.
The cost, it must be remembered is towards the investigation of a case. Nobody can pay for an "annulment". This figure is currently set at €700 (to be updated) and may be paid in instalments over the duration of the case. The individual circumstances of those approaching Tribunals are always taken into account and an inability to pay all or part of the expenses does not prevent a case being accepted.
The costs are borne by the person who approaches the Tribunal (the Petitioner). Sometimes a couple may agree to share these costs.
Yes, you can object and the most certain way of doing so is through your co-operation. This ensures that the fullest possible picture of your marriage is presented to The Tribunal and that the evidence is objective, complete and accurate.
Finally, it should be remembered that people have right to approach a Marriage Tribunal in order to have the circumstances of their particular marriage investigated. Once the approach is made, the Tribunal is obliged to respond, following the proceudure outlined in this booklet.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN THIS WEBSITE
The one who approaches a Marriage Tribunal seeking an investigation into the circumstances of his or her marriage with a view to a possible declaration of nullity.
The other party.
Represents the Petitioner or Respondent, presenting a case in favour of the one represented.
DEFENDER OF THE BOND
Seeks to uphold the validity of the Bond of Marriage while acknowledging that separation has taken place.
One appointed to ultimately judge the evidence presented and arrive at a decision. Usually there are three Judges on a case.
An affirmative decision which upholds the petition on one or more of the pleaded grounds.
A negative decision which upholds the validity of marriage while acknowledging the marriage has broken down.
Directive, attached to some judgements, stating that either or both parties may not enter a future marriage in the Catholic Church without prior consultation with the Local Bishop.
Feel free to contact us with other questions that may not be dealt with here.