Annulment - How is this charitable?


#1

I am going through a divorce and intend to start the annulment process in a few months. However, in gathering information about the process I have found that my former spouse will be allowed to read all of the testimonies from me and my witnesses.

I have already begun the lengthy questionnaire and marital history and there are many things that I have written that would absolutely devastate my ex if he read them. Knowing that he would be privy to everything I write (including frequent thoughts I had about wishing he would die so I could be free from the misery that was our marriage...) makes me want to severely edit my testimony to keep from hurting him. BUT that would not be a true account of the feelings and situations that were part of our marriage history. Also, knowing that he would read the testimonies from my parents (two of my witnesses) would no doubt make him feel as though he had always been viewed as not good enough for me and would definitely compound the feelings of depression and worthlessness that this divorce has already caused in him.

So my question: what good can possibly come from the Tribunal sharing your entire testimony with your ex? How can it be charitable to hand someone a 20 page document that basically outlines every single thing that was wrong with your marriage?

If I truly do have to allow him to see mine and my witnesses' testimonies then I am not sure that I can go through with this process - even if it means I could never remarry. I refuse to pour salt into his wounds by letting him read that I never loved him, only married him out of fear of calling the wedding off, wished he would die so I could be free from our marriage, etc. He maintains that he does not want a divorce, so these feelings that I have always had are definitely not mutual.


#2

When I was a witness, I was required to state if I wanted either of the spouses or both or neither to be permitted read my testimony.


#3

Hi.

In going through my case (which was a Pauline Privilege and not a nullity as you appear to be doing) the exposure was similar. Let me add comments or questions for a few things you asked.

The process of investigation by a tribunal isn’t meant to be confidential between the two parties or witnesses. In my opinion, this is to aid the tribunal. I think they’re following the truism: There’s your story, the other’s story, and the truth.

I have already begun the lengthy questionnaire and marital history and there are many things that I have written that would absolutely devastate my ex if he read them. Knowing that he would be privy to everything I write (including frequent thoughts I had about wishing he would die so I could be free from the misery that was our marriage…) makes me want to severely edit my testimony to keep from hurting him. BUT that would not be a true account of the feelings and situations that were part of our marriage history.

The truth is more important than feelings here. Based on what you note later, if you were truthful with yourself, you would have not married in the first place. So it’s important not to let your feelings be your sole guidance in this matter. Let your conscience continue to make the better decision to reveal what is necessary.

Also, knowing that he would read the testimonies from my parents (two of my witnesses) would no doubt make him feel as though he had always been viewed as not good enough for me and would definitely compound the feelings of depression and worthlessness that this divorce has already caused in him.

It seems that you are still friendly to him for you care about his feelings. It may take time, but you should find a way to apologize for your candor, for it was a necessity in such an investigation.

So my question: what good can possibly come from the Tribunal sharing your entire testimony with your ex? How can it be charitable to hand someone a 20 page document that basically outlines every single thing that was wrong with your marriage?

It should be said that an investigation for a decree of nullity does **not **look at the time after the marriage, but whether the proper decisions and guidance and morals of which a valid marriage must comprise were examined and understood, **before **you took the vows.

I refuse to pour salt into his wounds by letting him read that I never loved him, only married him out of fear of calling the wedding off, wished he would die so I could be free from our marriage, etc. He maintains that he does not want a divorce, so these feelings that I have always had are definitely not mutual.

It is good that you do not want to cause undue pain, but remember that it takes two people to maintain a marriage, and your first sentence suggests that your feelings and fears came before your judgment.

I pray that all works out for you.


#4

[quote="sydney28, post:1, topic:195074"]
I am going through a divorce and intend to start the annulment process in a few months. However, in gathering information about the process I have found that my former spouse will be allowed to read all of the testimonies from me and my witnesses.

[/quote]

Who told you that?


#5

[quote="Spencerian, post:3, topic:195074"]
Hi. ...Based on what you note later, if you were truthful with yourself, you would have not married in the first place. So it's important not to let your feelings be your sole guidance in this matter. Let your conscience continue to make the better decision to reveal what is necessary.

...

I pray that all works out for you.

[/quote]

Excellent point - the heart of the matter.


#6

Neither my ex nor I read the testimony in our nullity proceeding. There is a good chance that yours won't either. Perhaps reading the truth about how you felt will give your ex the closure that he needs to move on with his life.


#7

Agree. Might alleviate any sense of guilt he might be feeling.


#8

[quote="catharina, post:4, topic:195074"]
Who told you that?

[/quote]

I found it on several different "annulment FAQ" sites for different diocese. This one from Diocese of Phoenix lists it in step five.

"Now that all of the testimony has been collected, the Acts, or evidence, are published. This does not mean that they are open to the public domain. Rather, the Petitioner and Respondent have the right to read all of the acts gathered regarding this case."

[quote="dulcissima, post:6, topic:195074"]
Neither my ex nor I read the testimony in our nullity proceeding. There is a good chance that yours won't either. Perhaps reading the truth about how you felt will give your ex the closure that he needs to move on with his life.

[/quote]

I guarantee if he is offered the option to read it, he would. And it would not give him closure, it would hurt him deeply :(


#9

Also, I am aware that the declaration of nullity does not reflect what happened in the marriage, but *before *the marriage. So if that is the case, then why am I required to write a 20 page account of all the things that went on during our marriage? (rhetorical question)

I could just say, "here's what happened: I knew we should not get married. I did not and still do not love him. I only went through with the wedding because I was too scared to call it off at the time and I thought my feelings of doubt and panic were just cold feet" That's the bottom line, but that isn't what the tribunal asks. They ask for an account of your entire marriage...so ultimately I am putting things in the account that would hurt my ex if he read them. He already knows that I think we should never have married. He does NOT know the extent of my misery during our marriage - and that is what the testimony would reflect and it is also what would crush him.


#10

I don't know where you are but here there is an option for the other to read the testimonies, but it rarely occurs. I know that in my case I was notified that if I wanted to review these things, I would have to make an appointment to go downtown to the Chancery.

It isn't like they send tehse things out to the spouse in the mail.

You might want to check a bit further into this.

Peace
James


#11

Nevertheless. Your Ex IS entitled to know the truth, however painful. It will help to bring closure for both of you.


#12

[quote="sydney28, post:8, topic:195074"]
I found it on several different "annulment FAQ" sites for different diocese. This one from Diocese of Phoenix lists it in step five.

"Now that all of the testimony has been collected, the Acts, or evidence, are published. This does not mean that they are open to the public domain. Rather, the Petitioner and Respondent have the right to read all of the acts gathered regarding this case."

[/quote]

As I thought this is similar to the process here as well. Note that it is a "right" and not a requirement. He may surprise you.

I guarantee if he is offered the option to read it, he would. And it would not give him closure, it would hurt him deeply :(

All I can say is that you need to think hard and carefully about your responses. What I did was to put the questions into my word processor and then begin answering them. This allowed me to write and rewrite the responses until I felt they reflected the best truth in the best way. I too wanted to avoid any hurt on the part of my ex if possible.

Of course in the end, if he chooses to read it, there is nothing you can do about it. Just be honest and do your best.

Peace
James


#13

[quote="sydney28, post:9, topic:195074"]
Also, I am aware that the declaration of nullity does not reflect what happened in the marriage, but *before *the marriage. So if that is the case, then why am I required to write a 20 page account of all the things that went on during our marriage? (rhetorical question)

I could just say, "here's what happened: I knew we should not get married. I did not and still do not love him. I only went through with the wedding because I was too scared to call it off at the time and I thought my feelings of doubt and panic were just cold feet" That's the bottom line, but that isn't what the tribunal asks. They ask for an account of your entire marriage...so ultimately I am putting things in the account that would hurt my ex if he read them. He already knows that I think we should never have married. He does NOT know the extent of my misery during our marriage - and that is what the testimony would reflect and it is also what would crush him.

[/quote]

I can understand your condern here. I too wondered about some of the questions. The best answer I could come up with is that some of these things can demonstrate prior issues. In other words, how quickly problems showed up, what types of problems, efforts to resolve them can all point to character issues that might demosntrate lack of commitment, or immaturity at the time of the marriage.

In the end I felt the best thing to do was to answer as honestly as possible and let the tribunal "sort it out".

As another thought, Have you talked to your - what's the term - councellor about your concerns? Perhaps he/she can give you some tips on how to say things that might lessen the hurt for your spouse. He/She may even tell you that certain "hurtful" things are not necessary to include. Worth asking I can assure you.

Peace
James


#14

[quote="sydney28, post:1, topic:195074"]
I am going through a divorce and intend to start the annulment process in a few months. However, in gathering information about the process I have found that my former spouse will be allowed to read all of the testimonies from me and my witnesses.

I have already begun the lengthy questionnaire and marital history and there are many things that I have written that would absolutely devastate my ex if he read them. Knowing that he would be privy to everything I write (including frequent thoughts I had about wishing he would die so I could be free from the misery that was our marriage...) makes me want to severely edit my testimony to keep from hurting him. BUT that would not be a true account of the feelings and situations that were part of our marriage history. Also, knowing that he would read the testimonies from my parents (two of my witnesses) would no doubt make him feel as though he had always been viewed as not good enough for me and would definitely compound the feelings of depression and worthlessness that this divorce has already caused in him.

So my question: what good can possibly come from the Tribunal sharing your entire testimony with your ex? How can it be charitable to hand someone a 20 page document that basically outlines every single thing that was wrong with your marriage?

If I truly do have to allow him to see mine and my witnesses' testimonies then I am not sure that I can go through with this process - even if it means I could never remarry. I refuse to pour salt into his wounds by letting him read that I never loved him, only married him out of fear of calling the wedding off, wished he would die so I could be free from our marriage, etc. He maintains that he does not want a divorce, so these feelings that I have always had are definitely not mutual.

[/quote]

+Then why the rush to get a quick Catholic annulment in just a few short months Sydney . . . ? . . . you share you are in the middle of the painful process of acquiring a civil divorce . . . this is a traumatic time for everyone involved . . . the divorcing couple and their extended family members . . . why not let some healing time transpire and embrace healing peace and quiet for a time in the *Lord *. . . before jumping into what could be another painful adversarial experience . . .

In gentler and kinder years past . . . holding marriage and the family in the highest esteem . . . in the case of civil divorces *. . . a civil divorce could only be acquired in two stages in many states here in the United States . . . first came the filing of an *"Interlocutory Decree of Divorce"** . . . and following this first legal court action . . . the divorce judgment was not final until the expiration of a statutory waiting period . . . often the period of one year *. . . which is known as the interlocutory or nisi period . . . which period began when the Interlocutory Judgment was granted and signed by the judge . . . and only upon the action of filing of the *"Final Decree of Divorce" *one year later . . . *which was the second and final stage in obtaining a civil divorce *. . . could a final judgement be granted at the discretion of the judge of the court if in his wisdom he felt that there was no possibility of reconciliation . . . and only at that time was the couple actually legally divorced. Such a "cooling off" or "waiting period" was quite often proven to be very beneficial . . . *though not always . . . but occassionally . . . and many marriages were saved over the years because of this wise precautionary approach to civil divorce . . .

Perhaps . . . if you let the river of time flow on for a while . . . you might gain some distance and a better perspective . . . and gain some clarity as to God's timing and His will for the next phase of your life . . . grave decisions . . . so serious and important . . . and such life altering decisions and actions . . . should never be made in haste . . . as your own sharing of hasty action re your entering into marriage has revealed . . . as such haste can oft times bring about most unfortunate and tragic consequences for all involved . . . and a few "months" seems like an almost . . . impossibly short time . . . for such a profoundly important activity such as seeking an annulment of a marriage in the heart :heart: of Holy Mother Church . . .

Re the charitable desire not to harm another through words in so far as possible while responsibly standing and living for and in wholesome truth . . . I love the portion of Sacred :bible1: Scripture below . . . may it bless your heart and be your guide from . . . **God's Holy Thoughts** this day . . . and in all the days yet ahead . . .

:signofcross:
"Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in **thy
** sight,
O Lord, **
my strength, and my redeemer."
***Psalm 19:14
*
May **God *guide and bless you . . . and may you seek and find only . . . **His Holy Pathway* . . .in which to walk all the rest of the days of your life . . .

Peace . . . *
[RIGHT]. .. all for *
Jesus*+
*. . . thank You Blessed Virgin Mary+

[/RIGHT]


#15

Sydney -

My DH is on the road to reapplying. He was recently in contact with a priest who asked what will be different this time. Answer: he left things out because he was being a nice guy. What everyone says about writing the application is true: it does heal. You need to heal, and so does your x. In our area, both parties are open to read all that is written, but no information can be copied. You can bring someone with you, and make notes. Don’t leave anything out.

I’d be interested in keeping up with what’s going on. A bunch of us going through the process are on another thread called ‘Annulments’. Keep us posted in your journey.

God bless.


#16

Sydney,
I am very sorry to hear that you are going ahead with the divorce and annulment. I have been following your post, and am aware of your situation. You are also aware of mine, and that we both know there are some similarities, and yet some differences. I am chosing to stay married. I think my husband is a good man, and I want to be a good wife, and I know that love isn't always a feeling. I also know that in the long run, sometimes it doesn't really matter why you got married. No one really marries for the best of reasons. That doesn't mean that your marraige is always doomed. Some reasons work out better, but overall, I think that the Catholic practice of annulments can sometimes throw confusion into the mix, because it makes you think you are doomed if one or two things were not exactly ideal. In my situation, it is best not to dwell on the past because there is nothing you can do about it. Continuing to stay married will be hard, but the divorce and annulment is also hard. I''ve been here 20 years, and I think I can do it another 20 if I have to. God has always been there for me, and it has helped. That said, I don't want to judge your situation. I wish you the best, and hope that you get what you need. God Bless.


#17

[quote="sydney28, post:1, topic:195074"]

So my question: what good can possibly come from the Tribunal sharing your entire testimony with your ex? How can it be charitable to hand someone a 20 page document that basically outlines every single thing that was wrong with your marriage?

[/quote]

Hi Sydney,

I had doubts about the nullity process when I started, too. What good can come of the hurtful things? CLARITY. For you and your former spouse. You can both learn from what happened instead of always wondering what happened and why. If either of you is in another marriage one day, you can try not to make the same mistakes. You can learn more about your weaknesses and ask God to help you change them.

I read some hurtful things (and maybe a few lies) when I reviewed my ex's testimony. They hurt at the time, but I wouldn't go back and erase that knowledge now if I could. I'ts helped me become the (I hope better) person I am today.

Think of it as a parent disciplining a child. Not that your husband is the child in this situation, but parents know that a temporary hurt can be loving and helpful for the long run.

God bless,


#18

#19

Thought of one I can’t leave out…

  1. The Tribunal in my city states that they have significant trouble with cases which are left for years before petitioning. Witnessed have moved, died, left the Church and cannot be located for testimony.

#20

Thanks for that, Cecilia! :)


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