Annulments: official info please!


Does anyone have any official info regarding annulments? For example what are official grounds and how many actually occur and other such information.
I have read about them a little but Im not sure what is fact or fiction.


The issue with Annulments is that every case is different and unique. No two cases are exactly alike even thought they may look alike, from the outside looking in. There are thousands submitted and thousands of Marriages found Null. But then I’m sure that there are also as many of Marriages found to be valid.



Here’s a link to the best site I’ve seen on declarations of nullity from the Archdiocese of Boston:



You might find the book: “Annulments and the Catholic Church: Straight Answers to Tough Questions” by; Edward Peters, J.D., J.C.D. very informative.

Good Luck.




I have had one. I took about six months. A lot of paperwork is required but my priest was very helpful.


Canon Law governs the Sacraments, including the impediments to valid marriage.

This information is not published. Decrees of nullity are not public documents, therefore you will not find ready access to the number, kind, or other information regarding them.

I suggest you obtain a copy of Michael Smith Foster’s book Annulment: The Wedding That Was. It is excellent and explains the subject in a very easy to understand format.


I second this - fantastic book in a very easy to read Q&A format. I still reference it often, six years after receiving my own declaration of nullity.



One of the best list of links of “solid” resources about the nullity process is:
I highly recommend reading Msgr.Cormac Burke’s decisions from his years on the Roman Rota


I have an anullment its a long process generally a year or more,
longer if you get them a little ticked at you ( like i did) BUT if you want to be married in the church you have to have it if you have been married before.

here are some basic examples of a non valid marriage.

both go into marriage with idea of divorce if it dont work out

get married by a justice of the peace

you have never been baptized

Father in law held a shotgun to you during ceremony.

these are basics only

good luck to you.


Both unbaptised doesn’t mean the marriage is invalid, it just means the marriage is not sacramental and it’s not indissoluble.


My friend is going through a divorce right now - she was wondering when she can start the annulment process? The day after the divorce ? Or does she have to wait a certain period of time?



She should contact her priest to ask these questions regarding the diocesan process of submitting a case to the Tribunal.


Depends on her diocese. Civil divorce is not a requirement of canon law. I actually think dioceses should not require a civil divorce because if people’s marriage is valid canonically, they shouldn’t divorce civilly and the break of the marriage has nothing to do with validity or sacramentality (apart from maybe supplying some evidence of a tendency possibly dating back to the moment of contraction of marriage). I would normally expect civil divorce to be deterred until nullity proceedings in the church Tribunal are finished. Of course, I may be wrong. The Tribunal doesn’t serve to examine a marriage: it serves to challenge it. And for those people who are not sure of validity but want to stay married, convalidation is there. So if they wanted to stay together for the sake of marriage, they would be convalidating, not suing for nullity.

Still, I can easily imagine an attitude like, “if this marriage is valid, I will serve it, but if it’s not, then I have no desire to convalidate it.” Civil divorce is a problem here.

Requiring a civil divorce basically makes the impression that the Church is waiting for the marriage to break apart and then she will come in with compassion and retroactively declare the marriage null and void and all so one can freely remarry. But one simply cannot forget that whatever happens after the exchange of vows has no bearing on validity. It may provide some evidence (the groom passing out, the bride confessing she’s pregnant with the best man, the psychiatrist showing up and protesting the marriage one hour too late etc) but it doesn’t affect validity. I don’t like the view of nullity as a medicine for broken marriage and for complicated marital situations. I am probably lacking compassion and lost on love and mercy, but I believe that the sacrament either is there or isn’t there and the Church has no power to impart the sacrament on an already married person. Let us stress once again that a nullity verdict is declarative: it does not change any reality. If someone lied, the evidence was faked, the judge was bribed, one is still married. Now canon 1066:

Can. 1066 Before a marriage is celebrated, it must be evident that nothing stands in the way of its valid and licit celebration.

Canon 1066 does not directly stand in the way of happy “annulments”, but looking at it should make any ecclesiastic judge think twice before overdoing the compassion part. He has no power to break the bond. There is one power that can dissolve a valid and sacramental consummated marriage and the name of that power is death:

Can. 1141 A marriage that is ratum et consummatum can be dissolved by no human power and by no cause, except death.

Again, this canon does not directly stand in the way of happy “annulments”, but it should probably make some liberal judges bite their nails.

Basically, if they declare null a valid marriage, the recipient of the decree will objectively remain married to the first spouse and become married bigamously to the subsequent “spouse”. We can speculate about grace and everything, and surely the poor recipient is not responsible for the Tribunal judges’ error or deliberate act, but we cannot expect God to alter the sacramental reality to follow the decrees of Tribunals that don’t reflect it.


I started mine the day after I had my divorce decree in my hand, but I totally agree with 1ke, ask your priest how he would prefer you approach the process based on your local tribunal’s requirements.



before anyone goes any further, Jimmy Akin from this site ( wrote a terrific book on annulments that will answer any and all of your questions.

from This Rock Magazine:
It’s more accurate to say that the Church does not recognize a civil divorce as being legitimate. A Catholic couple who divorces in a civil court is still married in the eyes of God and the Church. Marriage is permanent, and the only way to “end a marriage” is through a decree of nullity, which means that the marriage was never valid in the first place.

In regards to divorce I accept the teachings of the Holy Mother Church which includes the following from the Catechism:
**2383 **The *separation *of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.

If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.


Don’t fall into loops. With all respect, you seem to be criticising me but not knowing for sure what you’re talking about. :wink: I’m talking about a marriage of two unbaptised people, which is not a Catholic sacramental marriage, so teachings of the Church regarding sacramental marriage do not apply (the so called “natural” marriage can be dissolved, although it should not be). Civil marriages are not valid for Catholics, although they are valid for non-Christians and even sacramental for baptised Christians who are not Catholic. Talking about “ending a marriage” is a bad analogy and nullity decrees do not serve to get people out of trouble as much as to strike down objectively invalid marriages. A marriage is invalid because it’s not validly contracted, which the Tribunal only discovers, not because the Tribunal “erases the record” and says you were never married. You’re basically confusing sacramental and non-sacramental marriages, or picking the wrong person to quote. I don’t have questions, either, in addition to us two talking about two different things, so you probably meant to address someone else.

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