Annulment Cost and Salvation


#1

I am concerned about the annulment process, specifically, the cost. I just found out that an annulment can cost up to $1000 or more (depending on where you live). A couple of months ago, I made an appointment with one of the parish priests to talk about annulment and he was not sure if I even needed one, but he would research it and get back to me. He called me the other day and said he has all the forms I need to fill out and he will walk me through the process. A little background on my divorce. I am Catholic, my ex was not Catholic at the time of our marriage (she was Baptist). We were NOT married in a Catholic Church and NOT by a Catholic priest, but by an Episcopalian priest (compromise issue here). After our marriage, my ex decided to convert (her decision). However, she left the Catholic Church about 10 years into our marriage (she kept it a secret from me until the divorce). My understanding is people get annulments so they can marry again or start dating. I have, at this point, no desire to date or even get married again. My sole purpose of obtaining an annulment is to set my life right in the eyes of God so when my judgment day comes, I’ll be ready. I have a very limited income and cannot afford an annulment (if they cost what I have heard). I can see the questions popping in your head now. How did I pay for the divorce? Well, I did not pay for it, my ex paid for it since she makes considerable more money than I do and the divorce was at her insistence (I did not want the divorce). By the way, she got everything, house, bank account, most household goods, etc. The only thing I came out of this was the cloths on my back and custody of my son, and no, she did not even pay child support. My question is, if I do not get this annulment because I can’t afford it, will I still have a chance at salvation and getting to Heaven?

Thank you all and God Bless,

Mark


#2

[quote=MTH]I am concerned about the annulment process, specifically, the cost. I just found out that an annulment can cost up to $1000 or more (depending on where you live). A couple of months ago, I made an appointment with one of the parish priests to talk about annulment and he was not sure if I even needed one, but he would research it and get back to me. He called me the other day and said he has all the forms I need to fill out and he will walk me through the process. A little background on my divorce. I am Catholic, my ex was not Catholic at the time of our marriage (she was Baptist). We were NOT married in a Catholic Church and NOT by a Catholic priest, but by an Episcopalian priest (compromise issue here). After our marriage, my ex decided to convert (her decision). However, she left the Catholic Church about 10 years into our marriage (she kept it a secret from me until the divorce). My understanding is people get annulments so they can marry again or start dating. I have, at this point, no desire to date or even get married again. My sole purpose of obtaining an annulment is to set my life right in the eyes of God so when my judgment day comes, I’ll be ready. I have a very limited income and cannot afford an annulment (if they cost what I have heard). I can see the questions popping in your head now. How did I pay for the divorce? Well, I did not pay for it, my ex paid for it since she makes considerable more money than I do and the divorce was at her insistence (I did not want the divorce). By the way, she got everything, house, bank account, most household goods, etc. The only thing I came out of this was the cloths on my back and custody of my son, and no, she did not even pay child support. My question is, if I do not get this annulment because I can’t afford it, will I still have a chance at salvation and getting to Heaven?

Thank you all and God Bless,

Mark
[/quote]

An annulment will never be denied because you can not afford it…some folks I know paid nothing for their annulment and others paid anywhere from $100 to $400.


#3

Mark,

This is going to be lame, but I think you need to talk to a canon lawyer. Your diocese should have one.
I also got an annulment when I decided to convert, however in our diocese there was no charge for the annulment.
I am not sure, but I believe the annulment comes into play, when you are seeking to remarry. If you are not dating or even interested in dating, you might want to put it on the back burner for a while, at least until you get these questions answered. Check again how much an annulment cost in your diocese. Like I said, in our diocese, there is no charge for annulments.
Annulments do take an average of 10 months - 1 year to come thru
so keep that in mind.
Again, call your diocese office and ask for someone who is versed in Canon Law. They can give a better answer.

Good luck and my prayers are with you


#4

[quote=MTH]I am concerned about the annulment process, specifically, the cost. I just found out that an annulment can cost up to $1000 or more (depending on where you live). A couple of months ago, I made an appointment with one of the parish priests to talk about annulment and he was not sure if I even needed one, but he would research it and get back to me. He called me the other day and said he has all the forms I need to fill out and he will walk me through the process. A little background on my divorce. I am Catholic, my ex was not Catholic at the time of our marriage (she was Baptist). We were NOT married in a Catholic Church and NOT by a Catholic priest, but by an Episcopalian priest (compromise issue here). After our marriage, my ex decided to convert (her decision). However, she left the Catholic Church about 10 years into our marriage (she kept it a secret from me until the divorce). My understanding is people get annulments so they can marry again or start dating. I have, at this point, no desire to date or even get married again. My sole purpose of obtaining an annulment is to set my life right in the eyes of God so when my judgment day comes, I’ll be ready. I have a very limited income and cannot afford an annulment (if they cost what I have heard). I can see the questions popping in your head now. How did I pay for the divorce? Well, I did not pay for it, my ex paid for it since she makes considerable more money than I do and the divorce was at her insistence (I did not want the divorce). By the way, she got everything, house, bank account, most household goods, etc. The only thing I came out of this was the cloths on my back and custody of my son, and no, she did not even pay child support. My question is, if I do not get this annulment because I can’t afford it, will I still have a chance at salvation and getting to Heaven?

Thank you all and God Bless,

Mark
[/quote]

Mark,
My situation was similar to yours, a Catholic who married outside the Church. Anyway, my annulment cost $50.

If you can’t afford the usual cost, ask if they have a sliding scale or if they will do it for free.


#5

As far as I know, you only need an annulment if you want to remarry.


#6

[quote=BlindSheep]As far as I know, you only need an annulment if you want to remarry.
[/quote]

I think you are mistaken…it is needed if you want to remarry or even DATE


#7

My mother paid zero for her annulment. She worked bingo every Sunday night for a religious order who paid for it according to how she worked.

And no, your salvation does not depend on you getting a decree stating your marriage was not valid as long as you do not remarry. However no one knows what will happen in your life in the future and when you do meet another woman and want to get married it will be a pain to start annulment proceedings at that time, and also mortally sinful to even date the woman since you are still married.

Ken


#8

[quote=Karin]I think you are mistaken…it is needed if you want to remarry or even DATE
[/quote]

Why would someone date, if they did not intend to marry? Isn’t dating (excluding fornication) supposed to be about finding a spouse? Or does this include spending time with platonic friends?


#9

[quote=BlindSheep]Why would someone date, if they did not intend to marry? Isn’t dating (excluding fornication) supposed to be about finding a spouse? Or does this include spending time with platonic friends?
[/quote]

Not all people “date” to find a spouse:)


#10

[quote=Karin]Not all people “date” to find a spouse:)
[/quote]

Wouldn’t that be wrong, even for never married folks?


#11

[quote=BlindSheep]Wouldn’t that be wrong, even for never married folks?
[/quote]

I dont know, is it?


#12

Annulments are not a profit center for the Church. If you can’t afford it, they’ll work with you and likely charge you a minimal fee if anything.

If you have no intention of remarrying, I’m not sure what the annulment gets you. Confession should take care of any sin that is a result of this seemingly invalid marriage. I could be wrong here, but a priest should be able to tell you for sure. I’m not trying to discourage you from pursuing this. I’m just not sure the outcome is what you anticipate. Then again, what does it hurt, right? You might change your mind and meet the woman of your dreams and then you won’t have to worry about this one little hurdle before you get married.


#13

Excuse me, but didn’t the OP state that he, a Catholic, was married by an Episcopalian priest? Does that not mean that the marriage itself was invalid due to DEFECT OF FORM? A decree of nullity should not be necessary in that case, as the marriage was invalid due to defect of form from the beginning. There is still paperwork–but much less, also much less cost.

Remember also that the case may be pursued in: The diocese where the husband lives, the diocese where the wife lives (if different) and the diocese where the marriage took place (if different). It is thus possible that, if the marriage took place in a different diocese than where the husband now lives, that the cost etc. could be much less. I would certainly recommend checking into this.

A decree of nullity is not like a divorce. It is indeed true that one would need either a decree of nullity or the defect of form etc. if one wished to date or to marry (after all, until one has this decree or decision, one is still according to the Church a validly married person. Do validly married people date other people than their spouse? Surely not). But what it does is determine that there was no sacramental marriage to start with, not that one didn’t work.

I wish the OP the best, and hope that he checks this out. I recommend he go to the EWTN forum on canon law and ask a question of one of the canon lawyers who are experts in the field, and would be able to refer him to somebody who could help him, right in his diocese.


#14

[quote=MTH]IMy sole purpose of obtaining an annulment is to set my life right in the eyes of God so when my judgment day comes, I’ll be ready.
[/quote]

Your wife sought the divorce.
Your wife paid for the divorce.
You are not interested in entering into another relationship.

Your description of your situation represents you living as though you were still married, but separated. This, is not against Catholic teachings and therefore an annulment is not necessary at this time because you’re not doing anything that isn’t right in the eyes of God (especially if you are not harboring any ill will toward your ex-wife and are respecting her as your child’s mother, presenting her to him in a loving and respectful manner).

Should a time come when another woman catches your fancy, so to speak, then you would be venturing into adultery territory - adultery of thought, desire and/or action - because in the eyes of God you are still married. **That **is why you would need to pursue an annulment in order to set things right at that time.


#15

OP indicates that, after the marriage, his wife converted to Catholicism.

He says nothing about whether the marriage was convalidated at that time. Given the nature of the original marriage, I would think that the parish priest who administered the sacrament(s) to the wife at the time of her acceptance into the Church would have sought to convalidate the marriage. How do you administer the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist to the woman, if she’s living in sin?

If the marriage was convalidated, then it is presumably valid, regardless of how it was originally entered into.


#16

[quote=Declaration]OP indicates that, after the marriage, his wife converted to Catholicism.

He says nothing about whether the marriage was convalidated at that time. Given the nature of the original marriage, I would think that the parish priest who administered the sacrament(s) to the wife at the time of her acceptance into the Church would have sought to convalidate the marriage. How do you administer the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist to the woman, if she’s living in sin?

If the marriage was convalidated, then it is presumably valid, regardless of how it was originally entered into.
[/quote]

Actually, it was quite a surprise to me that she converted to Catholicisn. As I said in my earlier post, my ex-wife left the Catholic Church about 10 years into our marriage, but I didn’t find out about this until the divorce. Her reason for leaving the Church was because she said she didn’t feel “comfortable” being a Catholic and didn’t believe some of the Catholic teachings. Concerning the conversion, she was secretly taking the necessary classes to convert and when she was through, she just announced to me that she was Catholic. Of course, I was very surprised and pleased. Other that that, nothing else was done concerning the marriage, we just continued on like nothing ever happened. At the time, I even asked if we had to do anything and she said the priest told her no.

Mark


#17

as we repeat regularly, your solution lies in keeping the appoint with your parish priest, whom you say is all ready to “walk you through the paperwork”. He can answer your questions, we cannnot. Every marriage situation is unique and most of the well-meaning advice you get will turn out not to pertain to you. Just talk to the priest. You may be pleasantly surprised once you apprise him of all the facts that the entire formal annulment process won’t even be necessary due to defect of form. But the only way to know is to work with him. wish you luck.


#18

Definitely give the priest all the facts as you stated them here. There is something irregular about ex wife’s conversion. You mean to tell me she didn’t invite you to the Mass where she was accepted into the church? Did a priest do this privately some how? Perhaps she was never recieved formally into the church and it was in her own mind or perhaps she lied. The priest should be able to check on that. But in any case you say you did not have the marriage convalidated or blessed by a priest which you would have needed to do . So it should be a fairly simple defect of form declaration. If you truly cannot afford it then there may be some financial help from the diocese or a payment plan.
God Bless


#19

[quote=Seatuck]Definitely give the priest all the facts as you stated them here. There is something irregular about ex wife’s conversion. You mean to tell me she didn’t invite you to the Mass where she was accepted into the church? Did a priest do this privately some how? Perhaps she was never recieved formally into the church and it was in her own mind or perhaps she lied.
[/quote]

I assume that she did this privately. Remember this took place back in the mid 80’s (around 1986). However, I do remember her telling me she had some “errands” to run. Looking back I see that these “errands” were all on the same night of the week and I never saw her bring back any books or literature on the Catholic Church, but I distinctly remember her asking me all kinds of questions about the Church, such as we do Catholics do this and or do that. I tried to answer her questions as best I could. At the time I even asked if she was interested in converting and she said that she had been thinking about it but had not made a decision and then one day she just announced it to me that she did indeed, convert. No, she did not invite me to the Mass where she was accepted, she she announced that she was now a Catholic. From that point on we started to go to Mass as a family. A few years later she indicated she was having doubts about the conversion and she would not let me try and help her, she just “pushed” me away and stopped going to Church with me (and eventually left, but kept it a secret).

I’ve already had one conversation with the priest and have stated all the facts. That is why he initially told me he was not sure if I even needed an annulment and would have to research it. He called me the other day and said he has all the forms I need to get started, so I assume that I do need this annulment even though I do not plan to date or marry again. Did you notice that I used the word “plan” and not “never” concerning dating or marrying again. I may not be a smart person, but I’m smart enough to know that you should never say the word “never”. It always comes back to bite you.


#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.