Annulment witness protection.


I am likely to be called as a witness in an annulment case.

The reasons my friend gives for seeking an annulment are 1) a defect in form and 2) the man having a secret, concurrent relationship ( and a child on the way!) during their engagement.

OK, so I think she has a case…

But, if I’m called as a witness, depending on what I’m asked, that’s not what I would talk about. I remember a lot of things that were disturbing about my friend’s attitude toward marriage/the man involved that worried me that she was more interested in having a wedding before she was thirty than in the man she was ‘marrying.’

I don’t think my friend will want to hear me say those things - she’s got very angry in the past when I’ve even hinted that maybe there was fault on both sides.

I want to know if, during the annulment process, the ‘plaintiff’ so to speak, hears or reads all the testimony given by witnesses. Or can a witness ask for some kind of privacy about their testimony regarding the state of mind of the person who has asked them to be a witness?

I feel like I could be in for ‘helping’ my friend get an annulment, but losing my friend in the process!



Dear Nel,

The court will respect your confidence. Your friend will not see anything you reveal. It sounds like your testimony concerning your friend will only give more reason for the annulment. However, the court may have some hesitation about her current disposition for entering into marriage.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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