Annulment - advice please


I am currently seeking an annulment, and I have no idea what to expect. I married another “Catholic” after dating her for only 6 months. Before her, I didn’t have any long term relationships with any other women. It was my decision that the marriage be in the Catholic church, she was indifferent to this decision. We went through the marriage preparation at our parish. The discussion of sexuality in marriage, and the practice of natural family planning is of particular importance in the failure of this marriage. I agreed with the Church’s teaching and suggested that we should follow that teaching. At the time, I thought we had both agreed that we would not use artificial means of birth control during our marriage, but I would later find out that this was not the case.

My wife later was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a disease that is not life threatening in itself, but it is a very large burden. This diagnosis happened shortly after our marriage, probably within 3-4 months. There are no known cures for IBS, only ways to manage its severity. Unfortunately, one of those ways of managing its severity is by the use of prescription drugs that are a high risk to causing birth defects. My wife and I both agreed that we wanted to have children as soon as possible after our wedding. However, IBS would change all of that in less than a year after our wedding day.

She had the option of trying to limit certain foods in her diet that are known to be problem foods for IBS sufferers. She came up with a plan to try the diet, but after a few months she gave up, not ever really following the diet. At this same time she told me she was no longer in love with me, and she was harboring resentment towards me because of my practice of the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control. I asked if there was anything I could do to save our marriage, advising that we should go to counseling together. She didn’t see what counseling could do for us. We decided to divorce, and she thought that I would have no problem getting an annulment, but I am not as sure as she is.

Lately I have been feeling that I probably gave up the fight for our marriage too early. I was very uncomfortable having my faith attacked in the manner, and I guess I “shook the dust from my feet” as quickly as I could. I tried a couple more times to ask her to go to counseling and not divorce, but it fell on deaf ears.

What are your thoughts? Any similar situations out there?


No one here can comment on your case-- since we do not have all the facts and details. Only the Tribunal can do so.

But, we will all keep you in prayer, as this is a most difficult situation.

Do not feel guilty, it sounds as though you did what you could. Your wife seemed to take your marriage quite lightly and falsely led you to believe she practiced the faith as you did. Be grateful you did not have any children, as you would have had to contend with her the rest of your life.

I hope your decree of nullity is granted.


It does sound like your marriage did have some serious issues that could have made it invalid. Talk to your priest and he can go over them with you in detail and get you headed in the right direction.

You do sound very discouraged right now, but I suspect once you talk it over with your priest and actually start working on it, you’ll have a better understanding of what went wrong. Maybe this will help you get some closure too. 1ke is right that you should be grateful that these serious problems were made known to you so early in the marriage.


Don’t be discouraged at this point. Try speaking with your parish priest on this matter. Sounds like you may have ground for an annulment… Good luck!!


Thanks for your responses. I am going through the annulment process right now. I have been working with a family minister at my parish, but I have not discussed anything with a priest at this point.

I realize that there is no way for the responders on the forum to give me a definitive answer on whether or not I will receive an annulment. I was curious if anyone knew of similar situations to mine, and how the Tribunal decided those situations.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read a lengthy post, and to offer your prayers. I know I sound a bit discouraged, but this situation I am going through has not been a complete disaster. It gave me an opportunity to explain the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control to many more people than I ever would have mentioned it to if this had never happened. If one of those people heeds that teaching, praise God!


I don’t know anyone, but I’m getting ready to start the process too. Have you already started your paperwork yet?


Search “decree of nullity” and “anullment” here at CAF. You will turn up with a lot of good information.


Search both but remember that “decree of nullity” is the proper term. I know priests who could kill for the use of the term “annulment”. The Church has no power to annul anything. The Church even has the power to dissolve certain marriages - such as marriages which are not consummated, or marriages of converts dissolved by virtue of pauline or petrine privilege. But the Church can’t annul them as in erase them by the Church’s own decision. In case of invalid marriages between Catholics, the Church does not make them null - the tribunals merely find out if they are null or not and decree accordingly. It’s a declaration, not a creation of new reality.

I see some potential titles of nullity in your situation, but none are error-proof. Go to the tribunal. Collecting advice from people won’t help your situation at all, it can only give you anguish, especially if you receive conflicting advice, which you are likely to. Courage and go to the tribunal! :slight_smile: I’ll be praying for you.


Thanks. I wasn’t aware that I could contact the Tribunal directly. I’ve had to fill out a 21 page questionnaire, followed by 2 shorter questionnaires. I have yet to be contacted directly by them.

[quote=dulcissima]I don’t know anyone, but I’m getting ready to start the process too. Have you already started your paperwork yet?

In my diocese, the Tribunal requires 4 witnesses designated by the petitioner, in addition to all parents/stepparents of the petitioner and respondent, to respond to questionnaires as well. So if you are seeking a decree of nullity, start now. My parish has a family minister that has been very helpful. She submits all of my paperwork to the Tribunal and reviews my questionnaires for me before they are submitted.


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