Are my children illegitimate b/c of annulment?


#1

I was asked the question by a friend whose mother is getting an annulment with his father. He feels that he and his siblings would be considered “illegitimate” by God and the Church. I know NOTHING about the annulment process. Please help.

Explain why annulments are allowed and why the children aren’t considered illegitimate.

Thanks

God bless


#2

No.

Can.* 1137 The children conceived or born of a valid or putative marriage are legitimate.


#3

Let’s clear up a few things:

  1. Illigitimate is not really a term that’s used any more outside of Canon Law and a few other sources. Legitimacy USED to be used to determine inheritence, and since that isn’t really the case, the boy need not worry.

  2. Annulments are allowed because marriages are sacraments, and like any sacrament they consist of proper form and matter. If one of these is lacking (improper) then the sacrament isn’t validly carried out. An annulment does not MAKE a marraige invalid, it merely determines that there never was a valid marriage to begin with.

  3. Children from a putative marriage are valid, regardless of whether or not that marriage was found to be valid in a tribunal. A putative marriage is a binding one, and is in place when at least one party believes they are wed and celebrates the marriage in good faith.


#4

Legitimacy is a matter of civil law, not canon law (Church law). An annulment merely says that there was no sacramental marriage, and that has nothing to do with the legitimacy of the children.

1ke pointed out Canon 1137.

[1137.] Legitimi sunt filii concepti aut nati ex matrimonio valido vel putativo.
[1137.] The children conceived or born of a valid or putative marriage are legitimate.
[RIGHT]Codex Iuris Canonici and Code of Canon Law[/RIGHT]

Since the marriage was thought to be sacramentally valid at the time of the birth of the children, they are legitimate.


#5

#6

:shrug:Funny this question … does anyone ever ask whether a civil divorce makes a child illigitimate? … what about the other harms done to children when their marriages end … and today 50% of children are bon outside the bonds of marriage - yet people are forever concerned with what an “annulment” does to the child’s status :cool:

People marry - they marry civilly - an action sanctioned by the state [requirements met - come are: blood tests, license fees paid, performed by a registered licensed official] … and if at least one party is Catholic - then the marrisge is witnessed by the Church [priest or deacon] … and hopefully met church’s requirements for marriage prep, encounter weekend and Natural Family Planning …

As others have noted - ‘legitimacy’ is a point of law adn impacts things like inheritances … whether or not a person was say - coerced into marriage - for which a later annulment decree might be granted [lack of free will] a civil marriage would have taken place … the child[ren] born of that union would be legitimate


#7

I think people confuse annulments with the marriage never having taken place…:shrug: And there is so much misinformation out there. I know I heard the same thing when my mother got an annulment from my dad…and thought for years that is what they were saying…

On my return to the church I asked that question of the priest…and this was his response…“Your parents’ annulment in no way indicated that a marriage did not take place or make the children illegitimate or anything of that sort, but rather that the bond of marriage was defective, and that something was missing at the time of their marriage that kept it from being a full union in the eyes of God. An annulment doesn’t deny that there was a marriage per se, but that something in the sacramental character was lacking.”

I think it explains it beautifully…


#8

[quote="Actaeon, post:3, topic:291847"]
Let's clear up a few things:

1) Illigitimate is not really a term that's used any more outside of Canon Law and a few other sources. Legitimacy USED to be used to determine inheritence, and since that isn't really the case, the boy need not worry.

2) Annulments are allowed because marriages are sacraments, and like any sacrament they consist of proper form and matter. If one of these is lacking (improper) then the sacrament isn't validly carried out. An annulment does not MAKE a marraige invalid, it merely determines that there never was a valid marriage to begin with.

3) Children from a putative marriage are valid, regardless of whether or not that marriage was found to be valid in a tribunal. A putative marriage is a binding one, and is in place when at least one party believes they are wed and celebrates the marriage in good faith.

[/quote]

Yes. I'd add the following to your #2:

Annulments are allowed because the marriage bond either exists or does not exist between two people, and an annulment is a declaration of the Church that the marriage bond did not exist in the eyes of God (for whatever reason) between a couple who had a legal wedding ceremony (whether before the JP, minister, priest, or whoever). It is incorrect to limit annulments to sacraments. People can be validly married but in a purely natural non-sacramental marriage.

To your #1, I would add that legitimacy- or proof of blood relationship- is important in the Church mostly for computing who can and cannot be given certain jobs by the bishop (to avoid nepotism). It might have importance to do with inheritances only if there are stipulations in a will to that effect. But that is not the Church's doing, it is the testator's.


#9

Not every marriage is a sacrament. Marriages may be declared null even if they were putative natural marriages (one or both parties unbaptized.)

Part of the confusion comes from using the term “annulment” which the Church does not use. It is called a “declaration of nullity” which neatly describes the fact that a marriage was null from the start and the tribunal merely made a finding of fact in this regard.


#10

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