Annulment Confusion

This is my first post so please bear with me.
I came into the Church almost 15 years ago when I c was in college. I later married in the Church to a cradle-Catholic and, after much counsel, separated and ultimately divorced. My divorce was extremely traumatic, and my treatment by fellow church - members and priest was likewise. I spoke about my circumstances to only my confessor and one close friend as I did not even want to approach the sin of detraction. My ex took it upon himself to wage an unholy war against me and spoke horrific untruths to whomever would listen. I was literally left with no one. Long story short, evil won for a time. Rather than carry my cross, I ran from it and from the Church. I allowed myself to believe the Church was the issue when it was the sins of fallible men, not the Church, which had caused me so much grief. I later remarried outside the Church.

A few years after divorce, my ex petitioned for a decree of nullity and, for a host of reasons, I fought it. The biggest reason was that his petition was rife with the same calumny I endured when we were divorcing. The annulment was granted, but I appealed it to the Rota (where it is currently under review). It was originally ruled upon without my input because I did not understand the process.

My conundrum is two-fold.

First, I am still confused about the whole thing. I appealed my ex 's request because I truly believe that it was granted on an invalid basis since the petition and information provided was fabricated by my ex… Even though an annulment world benefit me currently since I am remarried and have now found my way back to the Church, I could not see the spiritual validity of such an annulment, even if it was granted “on paper”. Also, I returned to the Church during this annulment appeal time period and my views on the whole thing have changed substantially. Am I right to think that an annulment granted based on untruths is spiritually invalid? Am I just being overscrupulous?

Second, what the heck now? I do believe there was a defect in form (or several) in my marriage that would be grounds for annulment but I don’t think I can raise them at the appellate level… Can I? I did not raise them before because I was not involved in the original request for annulment and, frankly, at the time I discovered the annulment had been granted, wanted to fight against it for a couple of selfish, non - Catholic reasons as well (this was before I saw the error of my choices and returned to the Church.)

Anyone have any insight? I’m beyond confused about the process at this point.

Since there is the possibility of deceit or error, there is never absolute certainty, therefore the canon law makes certain presumptions.

There must be two concurring affirmative decisions before the annulment is final, so when there is a split decision between the two lower courts it goes to the Roman Rota for a final resolution.

All affirmative decisions require an automatic appeal. Did that happen already or is that the Rota appeal?

So you believe there are provable grounds for an annulment, different than those presented. An appeal should present new and substantial evidence.

These issues are examined:

*]were free to marry
*]freely exchanged their consent (and were capable of it)
*]intended to marry for life, be faithful, and be open to children
*]intended “good of each other"
*]consent was given in the presence of witnesses before an authorized church official.


Since you have appealed and the case is now before the Rota, you need to discuss all of this with the person who is acting as your Advocate at the Rota. I don’t know how to do that, exactly, but you should have received some contact information. If you have no such information, and don’t even know if you have an advocate, you can call or fax the Rota. They understand English.

Or, you can request that your local Tribunal give you some help in contacting the Rota (not sure what will happen there, though).


Since the annulment benefits you, why not withdraw your appeal? An annulment officially granted is a valid annulment, even if it was based on a petitioner’s lies. If your annulment is reversed, you never again will be able to marry in the Church. Why put that burden on yourself?

One may appeal the initial decision directly to the Rota; however this must be done before the automatic appeal is acted on. I think this was the case in one of the Kennedy divorces.

Ugh. I registered last night and only just realized I spelled my username incorectly! Ahhhh…humility. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure. I asked that it be sent to the Rota after the court of first instance ruled. Again, I am too unfamiliar with the process to understand where that puts me along the path of annulment.

It’s not just that I believe that there are provable grounds for annulment, its that I failed to present any to the Rota when they asked for my input which was due several months ago.
Here’s an illustration of how the allegations went: (H = Husband; W = Wife)

H claimed lack of form due to defect A, B, and C and supported his allegations with fraudulent testimony

W gave statement contradicting points A, B and C but offered no evidence of potentially substantive defects D and E because W did not want the annulment to be granted, even though she believed the marriage to be defective. (W sought to clear her name, not invalidate the marriage)

W now wishes the marriage to be evaluated on the basis of the additional potential defects of form (D and E) and desires the marriage to be annulled. W is concerned that just withdrawing her objection to the finding of the court of first instance could result in the granting of an annulment which is defective in and of itself since it would have been granted based on un-oppossed false testimony.

I may just be restating the same thing and complicating matters with this example, but I really don’t know how to handle this.

This is one of the ethical points I am struggling with. Yes, you are correct that allowing the annulment to proceed would benefit me, however, I am finding it hard to square with the validity of an annulment granted on the basis of false testimony. The testimony given is not simply a difference of opinion. In addition to my ex’s false statements, my ex solicited and received affidavits to support his contentions from people who swore they had close personal relationships with me and thus personal firsthand insight, when I not only had no relationship with them, I had never solialized with them, let alone confided in them.

Isn’t the purpose of seeking an annulment to find the real truth about the validity of the marriage, whatever the outcome, not to take an easy path and accept a rubber-stamping of a personally beneficial outcome? I kind of feel like withdrawing my opposition to his grounds for annulment would be akin to getting away with a societal crime without having to worry about getting caught, independent of whether the crime was committed. In essence, if someone robbed a bank and was never caught, he would still know in his heart his actions were not lawful.

I think they will have to proceed on the basis of what you provided, and you provided your statement without other proofs. If they doubt the sworn affidavits, in absence of proof of alternate grounds, then they I think they would overturn the first ruling. Marriage is favored.

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