Considering annulment


#1

I was married several years ago in the Catholic church. My ex was also Catholic (baptized not confirmed). Long story short, we started dating when we were young (both 18) and finally married at 24. We had our problems, but I thought that all couples fought. 6 months into our marriage things got really bad suddenly. Its like a switch was flipped and this person I’d known for 6 years became someone I didn’t know at all. At that time, he told me that he had never wanted to marry me but he had discussed it with his mother a month before the wedding. He never told me. In fact, I had asked him numerous times if he was sure he wanted to marry me because something felt “off” but he always assured me that he was ready for marriage. When things went wrong, I begged him for counseling. He went to 1 session and refused to go back. I went alone. The relationship deteriorated to a point where we lived as roommates not even sharing a bedroom, he wanted nothing to do with me, I was afraid of him because any conversation would cause him to fly into a rage so I avoided him. I finally discovered that he was going on a trip with another woman and begged him not to go but he went anyway. We had no relationship at all at that point so I moved out while he was gone. He made no attempt to repair the relationship. The divorce was finalized a year later. There is much more, but that’s it in a nutshell.

I stopped going to church because I didn’t know what place I had in the church anymore. I loved going to church and was sad that I was losing that part of my life but I didn’t know what to do. I never considered annulment, because felt that my marriage was a marriage however brief it was.

I later met a wonderful man and we married a few years later in a civil ceremony. We are happily married and now have 2 beautiful children. I have since started attending mass again. It is upon the birth of my second child when I was looking into baptizing her that I stumbled upon information about annulment and realized that several of the beliefs I had were wrong. I now wonder if at least my ex’s lack of desire to marry me, might me grounds to annul the marriage if not other circumstances. I would love nothing more than to be able to attend mass and participate fully with my children and husband. I would also love to have my current marriage blessed. Of course, I know that there are no guarantees.

It is difficult for me to even think about opening that painful chapter of my life again. I do not know where my ex is and only have an e-mail address for him but I do not wish to contact him about this. I am also very nervous about meeting with a priest. I’m not sure where to begin …


#2

Go talk to the priest; he wants you to be in a state of grace and will help you.


#3

Well,

you have my prayers.

Unfortunately there are a few thing that have to be sorted through first. Technically, since your previous marriage was within a Catholic church and your present one is not – your position is essentially adultury until proven otherwise, because the first marriage is presumed valid until a declaration of nullity is granted.

Generaly you will be expected to refrain from receiving communion – for your own good – during the time of the investigation. That is not to say you can’t attend mass – but it is better to receive a blessing rather than communion until you are fully reconciled with Jesus and the Church, and to make spiritual communions of prayer until such time as the issues are resolved.

The church is going to recognize that you have obligations to the two children you have had with this second man – and they will not place on you burdens which will interfere with your raising of them. Beyond that, you really have to talk to a priest to get the ball rolling, rest assured – your situation is not all that uncommon – and many others have gone through the process which led to proper resolution of the issues.

The civil divorce has already taken place, so you are free to pursure the annulment process through the church. You may need to go to the archdiocese (or phone them) and inquire there about starting the process – you can ask your local priest about the details if you need to, but the archdiocse may be easier for you emotionally to talk to.

I wish you well, and hope for reconciliation of some kind for you.


#4

Thank you for the responses.

I’m aware of how my current marriage is viewed by the church. That just adds to my anxiety about beginning the annulment process and meeting with a priest. While I attend mass, I have not had communion since I remarried. I’m praying for the courage to discuss this with a priest at some point.

I have a couple of questions that I’m hoping someone can answer for me.

What happens if I go through with the annulment process and it is denied? Where does that leave me and my children? I suppose I just continue to attend mass but cannot ever receive communion again. Can my children be Catholic if I am not able to participate with them? I suppose it would be awkward, but it is possible?

Also, say an annulment is granted. How is a second marriage blessed? I don’t imagine its a full wedding ceremony is it?


#5

Your children can be catholic, the church is not going to prevent themm from their faith :slight_smile:

And the blessing of your marriage [should a favorable decree be obtained] can be very simple, a blessing and echange of vows after a normal any day [daily or Sat/Sun] mass with the priest and two witnesses … takes about five minutes … if you desire more ceremony … you can discuss that with your priest …

In my humble opinion; as you had a catholic ceremony once and a civil ceremony the second time with two children … the real focus should be on normalizing your marriage and less on glitz … that is what my husband and I did so I totally understand where you are but I could understand a desire to have some extra family and friends present … not sure I would go with any big bash but different people may have other ideas …:slight_smile:

And your priest may require some pre-cana classes even though you are already married … you need to both be on the same page as to the sacramentality of marriage and be fully aware of what your consent means :slight_smile: God Bless You … I am praying for you!


#6

Thank you for your response. Should I eventually get an annulment, I would definitely not want a big ceremony. Something private and simple would suit us just fine.


#7

Blessings to you … keep faith and take heart…

the process is long and involved. The questions are extensive but you will find it healing … at least I did … what a eight lifted off my shoulders :o …

my husband and I both needed to obtain annulments [how I wish we’d had the proper faith to obtain guidance before we married :blush: ]. It was nerve wrecking waiting … the possiblities [which we confronted] like neither of us obtaining the decree of nullity, or one obtaining it but not the other …

I have much empathy for you… some sixteen years after our marriage and nearly eleven after having our marriage blessed I can say that I am happy I went tthrough it and I truly believe that I would feel the same, even if the outcome had been different …the process was very healing

Don’t forget to pray and be open to God’s will for your life …


#8

We went through this, DH had a divorce in his past. It was eventually annulled due to lack of form. Get right to it so the whole thing doesn’t fester within you.
We were required to live as brother and sister while waiting for the annulment which was very hard and close to impossible, but we did our best.
We’re so glad we went through the process and had our marriage convalidated by the Church. It is a wonderful thing to finally be in full communion with the Church!
All worth it!


#9

My husband had his first marriage annulled and found it a very healing process.

Don’t worry about contacting your ex. My husband never contacted his ex, the Tribunal did that. She never responded throughout, but there are always other witnesses in addition to your own testimony.

It is very helpful that he talked to his mom about his lack of desire to marry you. It’s also helpful that you were aware enough that something was “off” that you repeatedly asked him.

The fact that you married him while questioning him also goes in your favor. You say he changed, but you also say you knew something wasn’t right and married him anyway. This is also something they will consider when they are considering your own ability to make a decision about marriage.

It’s time for you to move the process forward through your local tribunal. It’s sad that you lost so many years thinking you weren’t welcome after your divorce. I’m so glad you’re back.

Keep us posted.


#10

Thank you for the response.

I did finally call the church this past week and was told that the priest would call me but no call back yet. So, that’s where I am.


#11

If he’s as busy as many priests, it may take him a week or so to get back to you. Don’t worry.

Remember, too, that the nullity process is not about assigning blame. A previous poster mentioned that it will be good to mention your own misgivings about the marriage. Anything like that helps the tribunal get to the heart of the problems in the marriage. Don’t be afraid to mention things like that.

My annulment was granted recently. I agree that the process is hard but very healing. At first it can feel that you’re being judged, but that’s not the case. Just lay the whole truth out on the table.


#12

It’s possible your priest might be one of those that is overworked. I’d give him a try in a couple of days if you still haven’t heard back. You might also want to take a look at the web page for the diocese in which you were married. Generally they have the initial questionnaire and some FAQ’s posted.


#13

I’m not worried about who is to blame. I made peace with that a long time ago and I know that we both made mistakes. What I mentioned above is only a small fraction of what I will need to tell them and I will give all information necessary.


#14

Thank you for posting that. I was wondering if maybe they are busy, might not call back, etc. I wasn’t sure what to do. I guess someone will contact me when they have time.

I did check the diocese web page and did get some information from the FAQ.

So now I wait … :wink:


#15

About waiting for a call back, sometimes in an attempt to be polite, we are vague. When you called, did you say “please have Father call me” or “I would like to make an appointment with Father to discuss a personal matter”? The first one might have a tendancy to get shuffled, if the secretary knows you need an appointment, most likely she will have his book and can schedule a time for you.

Another thought, you might want to set an appointment with the RCIA director. While they may not be involved in the process, during RCIA they assist people through the Tribunal proceess every year.


#16

That’s a good idea. When my husband went through the process, we approached the priest and asked what we needed to do. He told us what he needed and we went from there.

It’s a good idea to ask for a specific appointment time, assuming your priest does that. Many do.


#17

That might be a good plan, rather than just waiting for him to call you back. Call the parish secretary and ask for an appointment to speak with him.


#18

Kylara, I don’t know if you’ve heard back from him yet, but just call and set up an appointment to discuss a private matter with him. Our priests (we have two) are also very busy, but that usually gets me on the calendar.

Don’t worry about talking to the priest. He goes through this all the time. You’re just like everyone else. Jesus loves you as much as he loves the priest you’re meeting with.

God bless you.


#19

I spoke to the secretary that I needed to discuss filing for annulment with a priest and she told me that she would give him my message and that he would call.

I suppose if I don’t hear back in the next few days, I will call back and ask for an appointment.


#20

I got a call back yesterday and have an appointment for Monday.

So nervous! :eek:


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