You may have experienced a marriage breakdown and civil divorce and be wondering how your situation will be recognised by the Church. Some people seek an annulment because they wish to marry another person in the Church; others seek one as part of their own process of healing. We understand that you may still be experiencing a lot of pain regarding your marriage breakdown.
An annulment investigation seeks to discover if there was a fundamental flaw in the marriage consent at the time the marriage began, which would make it ‘invalid’ in the eyes of the Church. This process is undertaken by an office called ‘the Tribunal’. Another way of explaining the process, is that the Tribunal seeks to investigate whether one or both parties were able to fulfil the promises they made at the time of the wedding vows, or if they properly understood what they were promising, or if they did not intend to fulfil what they were promising. The Tribunal does not seek to establish who is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, but simply the reality of the validity of the marriage.
Throughout the process, the truth of the situation is sought through interviews with yourself, family and friends whom you nominate. While the views of both parties of the marriage are sought, you do not have to have the co-operation of the other party in order to begin an annulment investigation.
The first step is to contact the Tribunal Office to make an initial interview to discuss your situation. Further steps in the process will be explained to you then. The Tribunal staff will treat your phone call with compassion, understanding and discretion.