Hello! Another question from an aspiring catholic!

Went to talk to my local catholic priest about joining the church and getting married in a catholic church.

My fiancee has to get an anullment since she had been married and divorced. She is methodist but was married in a catholic church.

How long does this anullment process take?

Is an anullment difficult to obtain?

How will this affect me?

Will I still be able to marry her if they do not grant it, but just not in a catholic church?

Will this mean that I am sinning?

Please help!!!
Please help!!!



Your diocese should be able to answer all of your questions. Most diocese have an advocate for annulments.

As far as how long it takes? That depends on a lot of issues ranging from the length of the marriage to the reasons cited as the bases for the annulment. Keep in mind an annulment is not the same thing as a divorce. For an annulment it must be found that the marriage was null for some reason.

Contact your diocese.


Rich -

The Church always views marriage as valid til proven otherwise, so, until your “fiancee’s” marriage is reviewed by the tribunal and found null - the Church sees her as a married woman. You as a Catholic cannot marry someone who may already be married - so, wedding plans need to go on hold until this gets sorted out.

Go see your Priest ASAP.

Pray - God will give you the grace and God always knows what is best for us.



A decree of nullity is not the same as an “annullment”. An annullment is something that you might get legally, it is a state process, it is not a church process.

A petition to your local tribunal for a decree of nullity can be made to see if the church can find grounds for a finding that the previous marriage, although recognized as having taken place, was not bound and inseverable because of the presence of some defect, making that inseverable bond not possible. Until such a finding can be made, the church sees your girlfriend’s previous marriage as still binding.

It can take months or even years. And there is no guarantee of success. Best wishes! Be patient!


This varies greatly depending upon the diocese the case is heard in and the details of the case. The best source of information for your diocese is your priest and marriage tribunal office.

A decred of nullity is based on the merits of the case. This question is not properly phrased.

I recommend you purchase the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster. It will answer many of your questions in a detailed way that cannot be done on this forum.

She is not free to marry you unless and until she obtains a decree of nullity-- which may or may not happen. So, it affects you from the standpoint that you should not plan a wedding, or consider her your “fiance” until she has completed the process and the outcome is known.

No. You cannot marry her if her first marriage is found to be valid. If a decree of nullity is denied, it means she is already in a valid, sacramental marriage

You cannot marry her anywhere-- in the Catholic Church our outside it.

If you marry her outside the Church and without a decree of nullity, then yes.

You need to take a step back.

The first thing to do is to make an appointment with your priest and lay out all the facts with him. He will guide you from there.


please search under correct spelling annulment on the liturgy and sacraments forum, as well as ask an apologist, and articles on the CA homepage, as this topic is discussed frequently here, and many of these threads have good links.
How long does it take? As long as it takes. Generally anywhere from 6 months (rare) to 2 years. It depends on the complexity of the case (several prior marriages), completeness of the intervew answers, ease or difficulty in locating and interviewing witnesses, personnel available in the diocese to do the actual work, which is at heart pain-staking legal investigation and paperwork.

It is simply not possible on this forum to give any reliable answer on any specific case, every marriage situation is unique, all you will get here are general answers. There is no such thing as an annulment. A decree of nullity is issued as a judgement by the canon law tribunal of the diocese, after due investigation, that the marriage never existed because the conditions required for a valid marriage were not present at the time of the contract.

Technically you do not yet have a fiance because you cannot be engaged to a married person. This individual is considered validly married unless and until this investigation proves otherwise and is therefore objectively not free to date, become romantically involved with anyone, still less to become engaged and begin planning for a wedding that may never take place.

Please talk to you pastor immediately about your own personal situation, because he is the only one who can really help you with your questions.


My husband’s annullment from over 30 years ago went well. It took about nine months to go through, during which we lived as brother and sister.
Get the annullment started ASAP and ask your parish office how to go about this. Until the annullment is finished, do not make plans to marry…there will be time enough for that later.
You’ll be glad you waited to go through the Church’s channels - we were!



Hello Friends,
Does the marriage tribunal have to have divorce/annulment papers, witness accounts, signatures from ex-spouses, and such to decide if a previous marriage was null from the beginning? Or, would a person be able to just “talk” with the tribunal and get a decision? Could a person just talk with a parish priest and he could decide whether it must go to the tribunal?

I am hoping to become Catholic, yet I was married when I was much younger. Now, I have been married for 25 years with 2 grown sons. I just can’t put my family through this process of a tribunal (and the potential cost), unless there is a chance that I can just talk with them for a decision. I am too embarrassed about my immaturity and the mistakes of my past to drudge it all up again.

Your help is greatly appreciated. :o


Here’s our diocese’s description and process for an annulment. Check it out.


There is more required than just “talking” to the tribunal. Yes, written documentation and testimony are required. However, participation on the part of the former spouse is not required for proceedings to go forward.

No, he can guide you but the decision is not his as to whether it must go to the tribunal.

Go talk to a priest.


There is a possibility that you may not have to pay anything - in the Detroit Diocese, for example, the cost of going through the process is paid for by CSA dollars, and so there is no cost for those who petition the Tribunal. Your diocese may or may not cover some or all of the cost.

As far as drudging it all up again - what is more important to you - being a little embarrassed or inconvenience, or living the rest of eternity with a mortal sin on your soul? :shrug: Get this fixed - you will feel better about it all when it is done.



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