Annulment question


#1

Hypothetical question for any that might know that answer.

Non-catholic an marries non-catholic woman in state of WV. They later divorce. Non-catholic man moves to South Carolina and marries a 2nd time to a different woman. Man & woman discover the Catholic Church. Man files for annulment in SC since he lives in that state.

Here’s the question:If the request for nullity of the man’s 1st marriage is denied in South Carolina, can he file a new request in WV?


#2

Hypothetical question for any that might know that answer. Non-catholic man marries non-catholic woman in state of WV. They later divorce. Non-catholic man moves to South Carolina and marries a 2nd time to a different woman. Man & woman discover the Catholic Church. Man files for annulment in SC since he lives in that state. Here’s the question:If the request for nullity of the man’s 1st marriage is denied in South Carolina, can he file a new request in WV?

Competence in a matrimonial case is regulated according to canon 1673.

I would be willling to respond as a canon lawyer, but two issues would need to be clarified.

  1. It would be necessary to know the domicile or quasi-domicile of the first wife. To keep things simple, I will only ask about the domicile. *Thus, where does she live now?
  1. To say the request was denied could mean either one of two things. It could mean (a) that the libellus or petition was rejected and that the request did not lead to trial and definitive sentence, or (b) that a negative sentence was issued at the conclusion of trial. *Which of these did you mean?

*(Dcn.) John M. Cameron, JCL
Lansing MI


#3

Yes!


#4

I do not believe so. He can appeal the ruling but he can not just file in another diocese. We are one Church not many different ones. He is bound by the ruling of the first tribunal. Again he may appeal it, but not just file around until he gets the result he likes. I am not expert but I do believe this is correct.


#5

Hypothetical question for any that might know that answer. Non-catholic man marries non-catholic woman in state of WV. They later divorce. Non-catholic man moves to South Carolina and marries a 2nd time to a different woman. Man & woman discover the Catholic Church. Man files for annulment in SC since he lives in that state. Here’s the question:If the request for nullity of the man’s 1st marriage is denied in South Carolina, can he file a new request in WV?

Yes in general but with some qualifications or twists that have to do with jurisdiction and definitive sentence.

Competence in a matrimonial case is regulated according to canon 1673. The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (WVa) would be competent under normal circumstances as the tribunal of the place in which the marriage was celebrated (c. 1673, 1º ).

However, to say the request was denied could mean one of several things. It could mean (a) that the libellus or petition was rejected and that the request did not lead to trial and definitive sentence; (b) that the case was abated by the judge or an operation of law, or © that a negative sentence was issued at the conclusion of trial.

(A) If the libellus has been rejected by the tribunal of the Diocese of Charleston (SC), it could be corrected and placed before the tribunal of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (WVa). Until a libellus is accepted and the parties cited, the case does not become proper to a a tribunal.

(B) If the case had been abated in the Diocese of Charleston (SC), it could be re-introduced by a new libellus with the same ground before the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (WVa). This is true since abatement extinguishes the judicial acts of the case including those which establish competence.

© If the tribunal of the Diocese of Charleston issued a negative sentence, the case could be re-presented under a different ground of nullity to any tribunal which would possess competence according to one of the reasons in canon 1673. However, the same ground can only be tried in second instance. It could not be brought before a different tribunal.

Thus, case © presents the first twist. Although the man could present a new petition to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (WVa), it would have to be based on a different ground that was rejected by definitive sentence in the Diocese of Charleston (SC).

Here is a second twist to consider. The respondent woman in the first case could have appealed a negative sentence. At that point the appellate court assumes jurisdiction and tries the case in second instance. On that basis the case becomes proper to the appellate tribunal, and the man cannot place a petition as you describe above.

Here is a third twist to consider. If the first wife for some reason had begun a case for nullity before any competent tribunal, the principle of prevention would operate and prevent the man from placing a request before another tribunal. Canon 1415 states, “By reason of prevention, if two or several tribunals are equally competent, the tribunal which has first legitimately cited the respondent has the right to judge the case.” So, say she moved to Northern Kentucky, perhaps in the Diocese of Covington. Under canon 1673, 3º, this would be competent as the tribunal of the place in which she, now the petitioner, has a domicile, and the judicial vicar of the domicile of the man, now the respondent, agrees, after hearing him. In that case, the man could not then go to present a petitioner before another tribunal.

(Deacon) John M. Cameron, J.C.L.
Lansing, Michigan


#6

also, as I understand it, if he wasn’t baptized before the first marriage, then it isn’t a valid marriage anyway…right?


#7

Thank you, Deacon for your detailed response.

I’m in the 18th month of my annulment process. It’s uncontested by my ex but as you prolly know–that doesn’t mean much.

Just trying to be prepared or know some of my alternatives is my request is denied.

Be well:)


#8

[quote=jumbyhead]also, as I understand it, if he wasn’t baptized before the first marriage, then it isn’t a valid marriage anyway…right?
[/quote]

It’s valid, but not sacramental. I think it would become sacramental upon baptism (of both parties), but I’m not sure.


#9

[quote=jumbyhead]also, as I understand it, if he wasn’t baptized before the first marriage, then it isn’t a valid marriage anyway…right?
[/quote]

This is a good question to raise in general. We didn’t have to look at it since we could presume the tribunal in the example would have addressed any complications arising from the baptismal and ecclesial status of the parties.

The impediment of disparity of cult would render the marriage of a Catholic invalid unless there were a dispensation. (In the case of a Catholic who formally defected from the Church, the impediment, however, is waived in Church law.)

However, this is an impediment of ecclesiastical law and applies in cases when at least one of the parties is Catholic. If neither belongs to the Catholic Church, the impediment does not apply.

Other things being equal (e.g., freedom from a prior bond of marriage, absence of certain close blood relationships, etc.), such persons can marry validly.


#10

Cameron Lansing…you are smart! Very impressive…have you served on a tribunal or gone to seminar…or are you self taught?


#11

[quote=cameron_lansing]This is a good question to raise in general. We didn’t have to look at it since we could presume the tribunal in the example would have addressed any complications arising from the baptismal and ecclesial status of the parties.

The impediment of disparity of cult would render the marriage of a Catholic invalid unless there were a dispensation. (In the case of a Catholic who formally defected from the Church, the impediment, however, is waived in Church law.)

However, this is an impediment of ecclesiastical law and applies in cases when at least one of the parties is Catholic. If neither belongs to the Catholic Church, the impediment does not apply.

Other things being equal (e.g., freedom from a prior bond of marriage, absence of certain close blood relationships, etc.), such persons can marry validly.
[/quote]

I do not intend to highjack this thread. However, can you explain the rational behind it being easier for non-Catholics to have a valid marriage than it is for Catholics to have a valid marriage. I only ask because it just seems a little odd to me that non-Catholics seem to have a stronger presumption of validity, in some ways at least. Even though they may have no understanding of what marriage is intended to be. There can never be a defective form petition for a marriage between two non-Catholics because they are not bound by Church law. This just seems a little odd. Two couples could get married outside the Church under the same exact circumstances but if one party to one of the marriages is nominally Catholic and not formally rejected the Church then that marriage is not valid because of defective form but the other marriage not involving any Catholic is valid. That just seems odd. I believe you are a Canon lawyer that is why I am asking.

I do recognize that the above is very simplified (probably overly so). It is just a question I have been thinking about.


#12

[quote=Aesq]I do recognize that the above is very simplified (probably overly so). It is just a question I have been thinking about.
[/quote]

Here are my thoughts. I’m sure Deacon Cameron will correct anything that I get wrong.

I think the overall idea behind the 1983 Code of Canon Law was that non-Catholics have a right to marry, and that the Church shouldn’t interfere in that right. For example, under the 1917 Code, if two Protestants who were second cousins wanted to get married, the only way the marriage would be valid is if they first obtained a Catholic dispensation from the impediment of consanguinity. This is even if the Protestants lived in the hills and had never heard of the Catholic Church. Well, that doesn’t seem right, so the 1983 Code does not hold non-Catholics to any ecclesiastical law, but only to divine law.


#13

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