Anullment, of course!


All this talk of annulment! So, I’m wondering…When the church grants an annulment, does that mean that in, God’s eyes, there had never been a real marriage? So even long before the annulment, say on your honeymoon, if you had been able to ask God, would He would have said that no real marriage existed even at that moment, when times were good?

I’m not just talking about “in the eyes of the Church”…I mean “in the eyes of God”.


I would say, yes, it never existed in God’s eyes…starting from the vows. My understanding is that most annulments are granted based on the spouse entering marriage with reservations or wrong intentions or hidden problems. All of which make the marriage invalid at the very beginning.


Sometimes it toss out the incorrect (but widely used) term “grants an annulment”. They Church does annul anything.

The Church does examine a marriage and see at the time of the wedding, did a vaild marriage take place. Should the Church determine that there was not a valid marriage, she issues a decree of nullity.

She does not make a marriage null, she determines it was null - it never was a marriage.

The fact that there are good times have little or no bearing on the validity of the marriage - remember, the marriage either was a valid marriage as the wedding ceremony took place or it was not. So, yes, if there is a decree of nullity, in God’s eyes there was never a vaild marriage.

There are some good books on the topic.


A decree of nullity confirms that there was an impediment, defect of consent, or defect of intent at the time the vows were exchanged.

A marriage that is entered into in good faith by at least one party that is later found to be null is called a putative marriage.

The nullity process does not state a marriage did not take place. Rather, it determines whether or not the marriage was valid.


Dani… what the other posters said is correct. It isn’t about when things were good vs. when they went bad. A decree of nullity means that there was never a valid marriage because there was something wrong. It can be lack of form (not marrying in the Church) if you are Catholic, or it can be based on fraud (he said he was a college grad but wasn’t), or mental defect (drug/alcohol abuse, mental disorder), or coercion…i.e. a shotgun wedding. There are more valid reasons but I can’t think of them at the moment… these are just the general catagories that most fall into. For some reason people think that infidelity after the marriage is grounds… it is not. It is about what was going on at the moment the marriage took place.


Then that would mean that there are people who never divorce who go through there entire life “not validly married”. right? And people, who divorce and don’t seek out an annulment before remarrying, who are not really sinning before God because their first marriage was not really valid. I understand the church would assume it was a sin, as they would assume the marriage was valid until they could determine otherwise, but the Lord, **knowing **the first marriage was invalid, would not see the second marriage as sinful. Is that right?

Deep thinking for someone who was up nursing a baby most of the night.:rolleyes:


No. Every marriage is presumed to be valid unless proven otherwise. Marriage enjoys the favor of the law.

No. That is not right.

Catholics are bound by the laws of the Church. Contracting a second marriage when not canonically free is itself a grave sin, regardless of the ultimate determination regarding the first marriage.


Another thing to keep in mind - there is not a case with the Church “sees” things one way and God “sees” it another. They agree on these things.


I had my first marriage anulled after 15 yrs and 3 kids.
( his psychological incapacity to be a husband was the grounds)

I often wonder how I am suppsed to tell my life story,
sometimes I forget to mention that my first marriage was anulled when talking about my 3 older kids.
I have 2 more kids with my 2nd marriage, and its all a big mess cuz he and i got married in the courthouse and he and i are separated now anyway.
I dont even know how to introduce it all.
but anyway, when i bring up the first kids, I do not know what to say and often forget , I suppose i dont want to be giving the wrong impression.
I am so glad i went through the anullment process. it exonerated so much for me and i felt so loved by the church and God. so validated.
what happened when i met my 2nd partner… is still playing itself out i suppose. we are separated.
so it is like if he does come back, i cannot even live with him till we get the marriage blessed. I do know that much. with all the problems he has had, it is going to take a miracle.
I am happily working and doing everything I need to do,
so I am ok… i do pray for him and would love for him to be back with us in the right way.


I understand the presumption and the favor of the law, but that doesn’t make a marriage valid, right? One could still go through ones entire life in a marriage that isn’t valid before God…?

No. That is not right.

Catholics are bound by the laws of the Church. Contracting a second marriage when not canonically free is itself a grave sin, regardless of the ultimate determination regarding the first marriage.

Now that makes sense. The sin is not only the adultery of a second marriage after a valid first marriage, but breaking the law of the church even if the first marriage was** invalid**, right?


Danimay, to use an imperfect analogy, think of marriage as a building. The newly wed couple moves into a house. They live in it thinking it’s their house. Now, a few things could really be going on. They could have bought a house that did not have a free and clear title. So they are occupying a house illegally that belongs to someone else. When that comes to light, they can be told to move out. That’s the kind of marriage where the people are in it and someone has a vow to someone else and is not free to marry.

Or they can move into the house, and think they are happy in it, but not realize that the house is so structurally deficient that it is only a matter of time before the building comes crashing down around them. It doesn’t matter how happy they were in the beginning, if the floor was rotting through and the foundation was cracked, eventually the house will be a hazard and they may have to move out to save their safety. And a building inspector coming in later will tell them that house was never fit for human habitation to begin with. And it doesn’t matter how happy they were with the plastered over wall cracks and the new carpeting hiding the structural defects. The house was fundamentally unsound.

A house that lasts is proof of its soundness.

Same with marriages… marriages that last, whether blissful or not, are fundamentally different from marriages where one or more persons leave, or abuses, or is unfaithful or doesn’t intend to have children. It’s like a building that crashes in on its own imperfections eventually. Some weddings never should have taken place to begin with.


Well, not exactly. Declarations of nullity are not infallible doctrinal statements. They are regulated prudential judgements. You CAN lie your way to an anulmment, if you know which lies to tell. In such a case, the declaration you receive will be utterly worthless. Similarly, a tribunal COULD conceivably err on the side of refusing to declare nullity where it really is warranted.

IMO, God grants Grace sufficient to overcome the shortcomings of his servants in such cases.

But I DO also wonder how many married folks are out there blissfully unaware that their marriage is NOT a sacramental union. Given the number of nullity decs issues today, one might wonder if MOST ‘marriages’ contain a fatal defect that prevented them from ever really happening in the first place. IMO, you are on the right track by following the tribunal reasoning and policies to their logical conclusion. :frowning:


Good point.


Yes and no. It may objectively have a defect, but it is subjectively valid until such time as the Church declares it otherwise. God binds what the Church binds. Therefore, it is valid. Remember too that a marriage with an objective defect of consent can automatically become valid at any point during which the defect ceases.



I don’t think that there are really very many people who are “blissfully” unaware that their marriage is not valid. I think though that there are more people who feel chained to a miserable marriage that isn’t even valid. Major structural problems in a marriage have a way of making everyone in the marriage very aware of their presence…often times though people will still try to carry on like they are unaware. That’s not really bliss though.


This is a concept that I have a hard time wrapping my brain around. I have read that when the tribunal issues a decree of nullity, it is not annulling a marriage, but rather it is finding that the marriage has never existed. But now you are saying that a marriage with a fatal defect is, in fact, valid (and therefore in existence) until the tribunal rules otherwise. The way I see it, something either is, or it is not. A marriage either exists, or it doesn’t exist. It’s either valid, or it’s not valid. These would be the facts, no matter how (or even if) a tribunal rules.

But, if I understand correctly, a marriage cannot become invalid should a defect occur subsequent to the marriage. I’m not trying to be difficult, but this just doesn’t make sense to me.


No, a marriage exists or existed. If it is found to be null it is called a putative marriage. The nullity declaration merely declares that a valid Sacrament does not exist (in the case of two baptized persons), not that a marriage never existed. The finding is only regarding validity if one or both parties are not baptized.

Such is the conundrum when the infinite comes into contact with the finite. God’s infinity allows him to see objectively in the ever present “now”. Subjectively, we see things only as they are in time.

That is correct.


a decree of nullity is a judgement of canon law, by canon law tribunal, that conditions for a valid marriage did not exist at the time of the marriage. It does not relate to anything that happened after the marriage. If God was present on this couple’s wedding night, and they asked him, “Are we validly married,” he would have replied, “Not according to canon law. I established My Church on earth with power to bind and loose, so go see your pastor and make things right.”


I just wanted to say that I find this thread very interesting.

I feel that if God himself were to have come down from above the day I married my ex, he would have said that I did not have a marriage because (among other things) I married someone who did not wish to marry me and told other people this before the wedding and I was unaware of this. This is one of several reasons I’m filing for annulment.


no it may very well be that in the course of their married life the condition that existed at the time of the marriage is rectified, or takes care of itself, or barrier to consent is removed and consent is supplied, or in some way the defect is remedied.

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