I am a senior citizen, divorced 20 yrs against my will…I need info on annulments…I’ve been doing some reading and know the church differentiates between divorce and annulments, but am having trouble with “getting a second divorce”…the first one was painful enough…I would hope to remarry some day and hope to do it in a catholic church…would appreciate any insight into the subject. my feelings are that since the divorce was against my will, i should not have to go through the process of annulment.SC

I am very sorry that your spouse failed to live up to their vows. I can recommend three things:

  1. Get a copy of the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster. It will help you understand what a decree of nullity is and isn’t. It is very easy to read and will give you a lot of good information.

  2. Make an appointment to talk to your priest. Explain your situation and ask his advice. He will be able to guide you on next steps, and whether or not you have a case for a nullity petition.

  3. There are a lot of variables that come in to play regarding a decree of nullity and so really your priest is the one you need to talk to. We can talk in generalities here, but no one on the internet can tell you whether you will or won’t have a case for nullity let alone whether or not one will be granted. And, lastly, there are a lot of people who post on here who don’t know squat about annulments and post all sorts of inaccurate and totally useless information. So, again, i urge you to get the book I recommend above and talk to your priest.

I am sure your divorce was very painful. A decree of nullity is not a divorce, however, And the process is entirely different.

To marry again at all requires that you be declared free to marry. This would be through the nullity process (unless your former spouse passes away, then you are free to marry again).

I urge you to obtain the book, because it doesn’t seem (based on this statement) that you really understand what a decree of nullity is.

First, a divorce does not end a marriage. Yes, you are the innocent spouse and you were mistreated by your spouse leaving you. But, that does not end your marriage. A valid marriage between to baptized people cannot be dissolved by any power except death.

The nullity process is a process used when one or both parties believe they have sufficient grounds to prove that their marriage was never valid. A good understanding of this will be found in the book I recommend above. If you do have grounds for nullity, then the Church will investigate.

Please make an appointment to talk to your priest.

Hi Sandra: It isn’t a divorce and it is actually very helpful. I went through it 8 years ago after 20 years of marriage (and after much work to try to save the marriage).

First, it addresses both parties to the marriage (even if your ex doesn’t respond, it will not affect your pursuit of it).

And it doesn’t address what happened DURING the marriage as the main focus (though indeed it is considered ) but rather whether you, your husband, or both of you understood and were CAPABLE of consenting to the marriage AT THE TIME OF THE VOWS.

IOW, you did of course have a perfectly valid ‘civil’ marriage in the eyes of the State. And your children (like mine) are perfectly legitimate born in the ‘civil’ marriage even if it turns out the marriage was not valid in the eyes of God AT THE TIME THE VOWS WERE MADE. . .and yes, you could have thought everything was fine and yet STILL perhaps your husband was not really capable of understanding or fully consenting to the vows.

Perhaps when you married your husband said the vows ‘until death’ but really in his heart he was thinking, “I am sure she is the one, but just in case, if I ever fall out of love, I will divorce her”. This could show that his understanding of true marriage was wrong and that when he consented to marry you, he wasn’t consenting to marriage as it is, but to a kind of false idea of marriage, in which case it is very possible that the marriage was ‘false’ or not valid in the eyes of God right from the start, and could receive a decree of nullity.

Yes, it is ‘work’ to fill out the questionnaire, ask your family and friends to be witnesses. Yes, it takes a while. Yes, at times as you ‘relive’ what happened you’ll have painful moments. (I waited 2 years before I even started the proceedings myself). But it is extremely helpful.

I did not think that I was being punished for my ex husband’s faults and that it wasn’t fair that I had to pursue this ‘on top of’ suffering a divorce that I didn’t ask for. . .I viewed it as trying to come to the best possible understanding of myself and what ‘happened’. It’s been 8 years since I received the decree and I haven’t even dated, so it’s not like I ‘needed’ to have this in order to have a Catholic marriage, but it helped me understand myself spiritually much better. That alone made it worthwhile.

I hope you’ll decide to pursue it, but do it on your own timeline. Even after I received the form I didn’t start out ‘right away’. Keep on praying for guidance and know that this is not a punishment but a help, in the end.

many thanks to you both…I never wanted an annulment because I wanted to believe that I DID have a marriage…but am beginning to believe that was not the case…your info was very helpful and i will definitely buy the book…I think i will get informed before i talk to a priest

May God bless you on this journey, and give you strength. I am very sorry that you found yourself in this situation. I am sure it is difficult. Your priest will be able to guide you.

many thanks Ike…your words are comforting. Sandra

I’m praying for you.

Praying for you. Divorce is very hard and thinking about an annulment can be very difficult.

I can’t thank you enough…what a comfort it is to know that someone who doesn’t even know me is praying for me…i feel like this is a sign for me to pursue the information i need to make a good decision. Sandra

yes cradlecatholic,i’m sure it won’t be easy…but if it is in accord with God’s will, it will be done…right now I am praying for a closer relationship to God and asking for the power of His Holy Spirit…for now, thats all i need and i know if i do that, the rest will fall into place…thanks for input. Sandra

update-------picked up an annulment packet today when i went to noon mass (i had no intention of doing that–it just happened)-------told a friend what i did…and helped her get one for one of her acquaintances who had spoken about annulment…there are no coincidences…this was God’s work in action…SC

almost forgot-----met one of the deacons at the office who offered to help me…i think its meant to be. SC

Sandra, it all will fall into place. It will have it’s moments. It won’t be easy, but it will worth it in the end and you will be stronger in your faith and as a person.

Nope, there are no coincidences.

Amen! this is not about annulments but i know you will put my friend Cookie Domangue onyour prayer list…she was just diagnosed with breast cancer and will be having surgery soon. SC

I sure will.

If you would like we have a support group on here as well. Go ahead and click my signature block. I hope that we can be of help to you as well. May God bless you. It can be tough but it can also be healing. I also pray that you have resolution in a shorter time period than I have. LOL

joan-----I went to the Annulment and Divorce group, joined, got a message back “you have successfully joined the group”…yet when i clicked on your name, i got another message saying “you must be a member to post in this group” LOL …now what? sandra

HI Sandra, I’m a part of that group as well. I noticed that Joan is off-line so I’ll try to help you. Towards the top of this page you’ll see a bar with Home, Search, Groups, etc. Click on Groups. You don’t have to bring the drop down menu up. In the middle of the page it will show you which groups you belong to. You should see the group listed there if were success in joining.

Welcome to the group. The people there are very supportive.

maltmom…i must be a dodo bird…clicked group and a list of EVERY group on CAF came up…not a list of the groups I’m in. checked the list of members in annulments and divorce group and i’m not listed in it…go figure. SC

It is a closed group. Your request had to be approved. When you first clicked that was your request. Now if you click you should be able to go in and post. God bless.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit