Another Annulment Question


I have searched and haven’t found quite what I’m looking for, so please accept my apologies if this question has already been asked.

A little background first …
My husband and I have been married to each other for 11 years. We have 2 girls and are active in our local Catholic Church. I am Catholic, my husband is not, and we are committed to raising our girls in the faith. I teach 2nd grade CCD and I work every day to bring the values of Catholicism in to our family (and of course, deal with the challenges that make it difficult on a day to day basis in today’s society). My husband and I fall in love with each other more and more every day and we both have finally "got the picture"
with what the sacrament of marriage really means. I joke that my husband is more Catholic than I am, but I’m not in to pressuring him to convert from his opinionated, struggling views of Christianity. With all that said …

we both have past Catholic marriages that we are in the process of getting decreed null, in order to move forward with our own union in the church and to continue teaching our children by example, what a solid, faithbased marriage is about (we’ve also used our situation as an example of what poor choices can do to complicate matters as you go thru life). :o

My question is this … we have written our summary’s, the Tribunal has sent questionaires to the witnesses listed, and everyone on my side has been extremely helpful, thoughtful, and timely in their responses (with maybe the exception of my ex-husband, who I haven’t heard from during the process). People on my husbands side have not been as helpful. In fact, his exwife (who is the Catholic) has been downright ugly and none of his witnesses have even responded. What kind of impact with this have on the Tribunal’s decision?

And, that leads me to one more question … what happens if one of the petitions is denied? I can not imagine going thru my life without being a participant of my parish, raising my children in the faith, or without my husband. Would the Tribunal even put me in that position? Is that within the realm of logic?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much!


This sounds like a very trying time for you. You sound like you care very much for your children and for their father and wish to live together in a happy family.

It must be very painfull every day that you are unable to marry the person who you feel close to, and you likely very much want your children to be legitimized.

Likewise, you probably deeply wish to recieve the Eucharist, and to live-out your Catholic faith.

That said, the tribunal is dealing with a question of Truth. Namely, did a marriage take place or are you both single. If you are both determined to be single, you could then get married and live together as a family.

Clearly, the easier it is to get information the quicker things can move.

If it is determined that your partner is married, that is not cruel or mean or unfair to you. It is simply the statement of a fact. As far as how to live with it, I assume it will be difficult emotionally. However, I’m sure that, over time, you’d be happier to know than to life a lie.


I’m confused. How would the tribunal put you in that position?


I don’t have any experience with Tribunals or the process if seeking a decree of nullity, but I want to comment on a previous post that brought up legitimacy. Regardless of your situation, your children are and always will be beloved children of God. It is my understanding that the word “illegitimate” does not apply to any child in the eyes of the Church. :gopray:


Thank you for the answers thus far.

My concern is that here we are … happily married, working towards getting our marriage together valid in the church … by first going thru the annulment processes due to poor choices as young people, which resulted in divorces. We are learning a lot about the church, marriage, and ourselves along the way.

Everyone’s life has moved on (his ex has a new husband and family of her own, etc) … but, if the Tribunal finds there is no reason to nullify the marriage, where does that leave our current situation? How can a family, who is involved, faithful, etc – not be a full participant (by myself receiving the Eucharist), because of the grave sins being lived every day by committing adultery. How does one continue to be part of a community who clearly feels their situation is unjust? It’s fine and dandy to say “it’s God’s will” or “continue to pray and have faith”, but the bottom line will come down to not being allowed to participate to the fullest extent. What is the likelihood of that happening?

I know a lot is speculation and clearly I’ve got some anxiety over it. We are not the most “religious” family in the world, but I am a steadfast believer in my Church and the value’s it instills at the most basic level. And, that is not even touching our personal journey’s with Christ.

I guess I feel an overwhelming sense of loss at the idea that it could be denied and my marriage to my husband would have me living in sin for even longer … where would the next step be?


Thank you for the clarification! :slight_smile:


If you were my best friend or sister, here would be my advice.

Live as brother and sister until the Tribunal reviews your marriages. Pray and stay close to Christ, by living as brother and sister, you can return to the Sacraments and that grace will help sustain you through whatever the outcome may be.


Firstly, if the witnesses on your man’s side haven’t written their testimony yet, he needs to talk with them and get them to either respond, or tell him they won’t. If they are unwilling to respond, he needs to get new witnesses asap that will respond to the Tribunal. If his ex-wife doesn’t cooperate, that has no detrimental affect. She has the choice to respond or not.

Now, in the mean time, as mentioned previously, you would be best to live without marital relations, get yourself to confession and then you can recieve Christ in Holy Communion. be patient with the tribunal process. They are investigating to determine whether there were legitimate marriages to begin with. If there were, you and/or your man are still married to your respective ex’s and need to live as such. Audultery is a very serious sin and needs to be avoided.

Don’t worry about what the community around you thinks about anything. Christ said we are to be IN the world, but not OF the world. We are to live IN Christ.

I hope your decrees of nullity come through soon so you can actually get married and continue your lives together.


I’d second this. and I’ve prayed for you . Hopefully this will work out the way you want it to.

Yes, there is a possibility that one or both of the marriage bonds will be sucessfully defended and there will not be a decree of nullity issued. In that case , there can be a resubmission to another tribunal. If that tribunal judges the validity of either marriage then you may have to consider how you will live. If either of the marriages are valid then it would be adultery to continue in this attempted marriage. You’ll want to discuss with each other how you’ll handle that. Either live separately, live apart in the same house or actually share the same bed but not engage in the marital act. Very tough decision.Others have been in this position. Like I said , I’ve prayed for you . It clearly wouldn’t be the trubunal doing this to you but those mistakes you mentioned earlier that complicate your life.




While easier said than done…Try not to think too much about the “what if’s” and “what to do’s” if the annulments are denied.

Make your best efforts to concentrate on today and being prayerful as the process can take in excess of a year to receive an answer.


I’m not one to pass blame for my own actions … I apologize if my question was interpreted as saying any of this was the tribunals fault. The process to me at times defies common logic. That’s all.

Thanks for everyone’s input. All I can do is have faith and hope that while his witnesses didn’t participate, it’ll all work out. And, if not there is always the appeal process.


Everyone’s life has moved on (his ex has a new husband and family of her own, etc) …

His ex is Catholic, right? Are you sure she didn’t already have their marriage investigated?


Yes, she hasn’t done anything. She has absolutely no concept of the process or even what “intent” means/meant. Her words were, “whatever … i’m not going to do it, because it’s just too much hassle and is pointless anyway”. So, that has left it up to us. I’m hoping the fact that my dh is a non-Catholic will actually be beneficial to the process, since he is the petitioner. We’ll see …


I apologize if I misunderstood. —KCT


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