Annulment - Viewing the evidence


#1

I'll attempt to keep this short...

I married in 1986 and in 2005 my wife told me that she wanted to separate because as she put it, she "... was tired of being a wife and a mother." We married when we were both very young (she was 19 / I was 20). Fast-forward to 2007... After about two years of separation, and two years of me waiting and praying for reconciliation, I attempted to move past the pain and rejection and call it quits. I sought out a lawyer with the intention of filing for a divorce and then seek an annulment within the Church. I failed miserably. I couldn't get myself to turn in the paperwork for the divorce. My wife then decided to take over and she filed for a no-fault divorce. The divorce was final in October 2007. It broke my heart. However, I still hadn't lost all hope and continued to pray that reconciliation may yet be possible. By the fall of 2008, with still no sign of any chance of this, I very reluctantly went to my parish priest and inquired about an annulment. A deacon in my parish took over my case and the paperwork was completed and filed. Within approx a month (maybe 2 months) I was notified that my petition had been "pre-screened" and found to be lacking in evidence under the grounds in which I had filed the petition. I took this as a sign from above that perhaps I should not give up and so I accepted it. When my wife (I refuse to refer to her as my ex-wife) was told of the situation, she was concerned. She wasn't concerned because of how it affected her and her situation because to be frank, when we separated, she (for the most part) also separated herself from the Church. She was concerned about how this would affect me. She claims she still loves me, just not in the way that a wife loves a husband. Anyway, she decided to then petition for an annulment herself. Her petition apparently made it past the "pre-screening" because I was sent paperwork to fill out and of course notified of the filing. Fast-forward to present. All of the "evidence" and testimonies have been received and I was just notified that I can make an appointment to come in and review it if I should choose to do so. I have until October 8th and after that (I don't know when) a decision will be rendered by the tribunal.

Here's my question... Should I go in and review this evidence or should I just sign the waiver and allow this to go forward? I'm torn, because I am not sure if my wife told the truth in her statements and what the consequences would be if a decision were made based on a lie(s). I am quite sure that this petition was filed with the intent of "setting me free" to pursue a possible relationship (and marriage) in the future should God place that in my path. Though, since we were married back in 1986 until now, I have never had (nor can I imagine ever having) any thoughts toward this end. Regardless of the tribunal's decision, I'm not going to be happy because whatever way they decide will not answer my prayers for reconciliation with the woman that I still consider to be my wife.

So, should I review this evidence or should I just let it go and live with the possibility that if the annulment is granted that it may have been done so based on a lie or lies?

Obviously, I will accept the decision of the tribunal regardless as I know that Church has the authority to bid and loose. However, I'm conflicted on that matter and I don't know whether it’s simply my emotions driving me to this or my sense of wanting to ensure the truth is what is considered as opposed to a lie with the intent of causing a "good." As I said, regardless, I will not find happiness in the decision because either way, my wife (the only woman that I have ever loved) has rejected me and continues to do so.


#2

praying for you in this heartache

bear in mind your wife gave the evidence from her point of view, her frame of mind, intent, consent etc. at the time of the marriage, including things you may not ever have known. She might not fully know, or even might lie about you and your intent at that time, but she does know about herself. The annulment process should be part of the healing for you, and if the love you still bear for your wife includes a wish to know her better, even what she withheld from you, see the evidence. If this is too painful, let it go without reading, since the process is merely confirming something you both acknowledge, something vital was lacking in your marriage. Allow the Church to judge whether or not that lack renders it invalid. Trust in God to speak through his Church.


#3

If such a thing happened to me, I would, most definitely, go and look at the evidence. It does not follow that your wife told lies to obtain an annulment, just because your application was found not to have evidence that could lead to one.

We can never know another person's heart (no matter how much we may love them) because we are human beings. There may truly be evidence in favor of an annulment that comes from her, of which you knew nothing.

View the evidence.


#4

I'm sorry for your pain, Tietjen. I think it best to view the evidence, especially if you have doubts as to its veracity (even if a lie was indeed, told to "set you free", it remains a lie and in that case could result in the tribuunal declaring invalid something that really always was valid).


#5

I have been through an annulment so perhaps my input will be helpful.

You express concern that your wife (ex) may have lied on the application.
Others have mentioned that she may have simply expressed things from her viewpoint in the matter.

The problem, as I see it, is how would you view her “viewpoint” should you choose to view the evidence. A statement that you might consider to be untrue in your eyes, she may see as perfectly correct in her eyes - and vice versa. Even issues that might seem to be “factual errors” might depend upon how one views or interprets them.

I faced the same issue when I filed. Ultimately I chose not to review the evidence. Mainly because I did not want to reopen old wounds and/or set back the healing that I and my ex-wife needed to get on with.

In the end I think that this is true for you as well. You need to heal. Viewing the evidence, in all likelihood, would not promote this healing in you.

My decision was that I needed not view the evidence. I had answered the questions fully and as honestly as I was able. I had to trust that others had done so as well.

Whether my choice is the right choice for you I cannot say. I merely offer my own experience and thoughts.

Peace
James


#6

Here's how the Church looks at it, from what I can gather...

What happened (or didn't happen) ON your wedding day is the focus. There are usually two main principles upon which they will grant an annulment.

1) Insufficient consent of the will. Examples: Either or both were too immature (could've been at 19 & 20!). She was pregnant and they felt they needed to "do the right thing." All their friends were getting married and they felt "pressured" in some way to do likewise. She wanted to get out of her parents home and marriage seemed the easiest way. This sort of stuff. The consent on both parties must be unheeded by outside pressures or influences.

2) Inability of either or both parties to live a sacramental married life. Examples: One or both didn't want children. Or he was an alcoholic. She was a drug addict. He had some mental illness. She never really intended to stay faithful and wanted an "open marriage." That sort of thing.


#7

I was told, when my annulment went through, that his statement "didn't match" with the statements of others. And this was part of the whole case for the annulment. So I conclude that if she lied, they will catch it. Don't worry about it.


#8

I thought of this same thing after I had posted. It isn’t as though they are only going off what she wrote. There are other statements from other witnesses, plus of course teitjen’s own statements.
I found it best to simply be honest, trust others to do the same, trust the tribunal to make a correct decision and then to accept that decision as the Will of God for me.

Peace
James


#9

If I were you, I would review it. You believe strongly in the validity of your marriage (as you well should anyway, because your marriage IS valid until proven otherwise) and there’s nothing wrong with trying all you can to show that you think your marriage is valid.

As far as accepting the Tribunal decision, when you get the decision and if you don’t agree, you can still appeal, and your case can even be brought up to Rome. Once a decision is made in Rome, then I guess you have to accept it :slight_smile:


#10

[quote="orlh, post:9, topic:212726"]

As far as accepting the Tribunal decision, when you get the decision and if you don't agree, you can still appeal, and your case can even be brought up to Rome. Once a decision is made in Rome, then I guess you have to accept it :)

[/quote]

I was going to say the same thing. You have the right to appeal the first instance verdict to the Roman Rota if you like. With the speed that the Rota looks at cases this can lead to a kind of de facto validity for your marriage that can last decades. People are often widowed before they hear anything back about their case. Add to that, about 90% of the cases that are appealed from the US are overturned by the Rota.

Do you want to be a thorn in her side and fight the annulment or do you just want to let it go? It is all up to you.


#11

There is no reason to presume that your wife mispresented the facts but I'd still go look at the evidence if it were my case.

To answer your what-if question--but without implying in any way that your wife necessarily mispresented the facts!--a nullity verdict is just a declaratory finding and it does not unmake a valid marriage.


#12

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:10, topic:212726"]
Do you want to be a thorn in her side and fight the annulment or do you just want to let it go? It is all up to you.

[/quote]

I don't want to be a thorn in her side. Regardless what happens with the petition, the fact is we're no longer living as man and wife. Should the Church decide to grant the annulment, I would accept that, though I would not be happy. Should the Church decide that the marriage is valid, I would accept that, though still I would be unhappy because my wife would still continue to live outside the marriage. There simply is no happy ending or peace on this matter for me. Really, the only change that would occur as a result of the tribunal's decision is simply whether or not I refer to my wife as my wife, or I simply refer to her as a friend (we remain on good terms despite the separation and divorce) and whether or not I will continue wearing my wedding band. If nullity is granted, it won't change my circumstances as I have no intention of dating and certainly no intention of marrying. There has only been one lady to whom my heart has/will belong and whether it was in her heart and mind at our wedding or not, I knew that when I vowed to love, honor, and cherish her in 1986 I was doing so until my death. That will not change with a decree.

I want to thank everyone who has given advice on the matter. I truly appreciate every post and have decided that in my case puzzleannie's & JRKH's suggestions are the most appropriate. Reviewing the evidence would more than likely cause a great deal of pain. More pain than I really wish to go through. While I know and understand that there is no way that I can see the truth of what was in my wife's heart at the time of the wedding, I do know what was in my heart and despite how well I think that I know my wife and what she believed and felt at that time, perhaps I was just hoping that it was the same as the way I felt, believed and understood.


#13

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