Dad wants an annulment

I just found out my Dad is trying to get an annulment. Anyone here gone thru this with your parents? I seriously doubt the council could find their marriage invalid, both cradle Catholics, married in the Church, 3 children, but seperated after 10 yrs when Mom found out he was having an affair which resulted in 4 children out of wedlock. When the divorce was final, they married outside the Church. Now he wants an annulment? I understand and know why he wants one and why he needs one, but nonethless I feel hurt by this. My Mom is livid that the Church would entertain this, but I understand why they would. They want to save his soul. But, if it went thru, would I be out of line of not calling him “Dad” anymore? Thoughts/experiences? Blessings…

Yes you would be out of line. The church will decide whether or not there was an impediment at the time your parents made their vows that in some way made it not a valid marriage. If they find there was indeed an impediment than the marriage is declared null. That does not make your father not your father. Remember the fourth commandment.

This is all pretty new to me so, what types of impediments could there be? I definately honor my father, but if he is willing to go as far to say he was never married to my Mother, well.

Re: Fourth commandment: I am legitimately asking this, not trying to play devil’s advocate.

Say belmontmac is, oh, I dunno, in his/her mid twenties. Let’s say belmontmac marries, and has a couple children. belmontmac’s dad is still in the act of adultery with “new wife”; or is shacking up with someone new, playing the field, etc. etc. and didn’t receive a decree of nullity.

Is belmontmac obliged to shield his/her children from immoral people/situations? Does the fourth commandment overrule this?

Feeling upset by this is probably normal, but an annulment doesn’t make your dad not your dad.

This really is a matter between your dad and your mom…and the Church. It would be good for both of your parents to have the truth revealed to them about the status of their marriage. It could be that your dad did have issues that were impediments at the time he married your mom. Your mom could have gone into the marriage with completely the right understanding and commitment that was needed, but if it just wasn’t there on your dad’s part, well, then there is not much that your mom could have done.

I think the process will be good for them. I wouldn’t get involved in it though, since this is between them. I would just encourage them to go about it with an open hear and answer all of the questions honestly. The truth is a good thing. We really are fortunate to be Catholics and have recourse to an impartial tribunal to hear cases like this.

This your parent’s marriage business. I would remain as neutral as possible; it is too easy to get sucked into taking sides in these matters and end up with everyone having hard feelings toward everyone else. When it’s all over, your Mom will still be your Mom and your Dad will still be your Dad.

Good question,I am in my mid 30’s, married with 3 children

I don’t see how filing for an annulment would change the situation that he is presently in, with regard to your children. Have you maintained a relationship with your dad? Do your children know their grandfather?

I cannot fully understand what you’re going through as I haven’t been in that position, but I know someone who went through something similar (unfaithful Dad who wanted an anullment before marrying his then-mistress). It’s not easy. The important thing to remember is that it in no way reflects on you or your “legitimacy”.

I can offer you a bit of perspective from the other side of things. My parents were both married and divorced before they married each other (in both their cases, however, it was the other spouse who was guilty of infidelity). My dad got an annulment 6 or 7 years into my parents’ marriage (25 years ago). My mom just got hers earlier this year. I can’t tell you what my half-siblings think of the matter, but for me, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. For the first time in 30+ years, my parents are right with the Church. Their marriage is valid. They can receive the sacraments. It is truly a great joy for me.

I understand your feelings. You have every right to be hurt – even angry. However, looking at the positive side of things, this could be a chance for your father and step-mother to finally be right with the Church. This might be just the thing that will help your father get to heaven. Isn’t that something to be happy about?

I don’t mean to say that you should feel happy right now. I just invite you to see it from another perspective.

I also want to say that, as far as I know, the Church will investigate the validity of any marriage if someone comes to them requesting for it. It’s not a matter of “I can’t believe the Church is even considering it.” They consider it because someone has come to them asking them to consider it. They need to investigate it before they can pronounce on the validity of the marriage one way or the other. So your mother needn’t take it personally. :o

Yes I do maintain a relationship, I see him everyday as I work for him. And yes my children know him. I always held my Father in the highest regard, sought much spiritual advice from him, was never really happy about the situtation he put us in.

If he wants an annulment chances are he wants to remarry in the Catholic church and can’t do it unless the other marriage is annulled. With other churches and with the state, a divorce would be sufficient evidence of availability. With the Catholic church an annulment would be necessary otherwise the person is considered to be still married to the other wife. This is because of the sacrament of matrimony, not because of civil marriage.

If your father had a bunch of children by another woman while he was sacramentally married to your mother, then it seems to me obvious that there was not a valid Catholic sacramental marriage between your mother and your father. It seems obvious that he was not making a full commitment to your mother.

The Church officials can work it all out. It’s a heartbreaker, though, isn’t it.

This is what I explained to my Mom, that he needs to get it, I understand that aspect, he needs it. As he is living in sin daily, and cannot confess or receive communion. I am not judging. My Mother is taking it very personally, she entered into her marriage and honored her vows, he didn’t. Water under the bridge. It happens. I know.

Wouldn’t you rather see your dad out of this state of limbo?

With the way that you describe your present relationship with him, it surprises me that you would even be considering that this would make your dad not your dad.

I filed for a declaration of nullity after 17 years of marriage and 4 children. It was granted. That does not mean that I wish I never had my children or that I am not really their mother or their father is not really their father. It just means that at the time that we exchanged vows, there was a lot of confusion and a lot of pressure, and a lot that we both didn’t know. There were things that went on with my ex-husband that brought into the marriage which made it an impossible situation.

I would guess that your dad is probably long over due in examining all of this. I see it as a good thing that he wants to go through this process and and it over to the tribunal for a decision.

My parents marriage was invalid.

Nothing to “go through.” This has no bearing on me at all, I have never given it one moment’s consideration.

I seriously suggest you get the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster.

While an affair and out of wedlock children are not “grounds” for nullity, your father’s actions are certainly evidence of issues that bear looking in to. It could very well be that this affair was going on prior to, during, and after the exchange of vows-- 4 kids!-- which would call in to question the validity of his consent and intent.

Perhaps he has reached the spritual and emotional maturity level necessary to deal with his situation. For that he is to be commended.

Whyever in the world would you feel “hurt”? This has nothing at all to do with you!

Again, why? I don’t understand all the emotion attached to this. The marriage was either valid or it wasn’t. Either way, I would think both your father and mother would want to know their canonical status.

That is not the purpose of a decree of nullity. The marriage could be found to be valid. It may be, it may not be. The tribunal process will bring out the facts.

Well, yes, you would.

Thought and experience:

Don’t tie your emotions in to this. It has no bearing on you or your relationship with your father. There may well be other reasons to be upset with him-- his infidelity for example-- but certainly not his attempt to do the right thing regarding both your mother and his current wife.

Yes long overdue, and out of sequence, it is what it is.

Whether he receives a decree of nullity or not changes none of this.

Continue on as you have before, and be happy that he is attempting to reconcile with the Church.

It sounds like it is your mother that is driving all the emotion. Certainly she is hurt that he left her-- as you said though… it’s water under the bridge. Do not let yourself be sucked into her emotion over his decision to seek a declaration of nullity.

Your Mother may very well have been capable of making and honoring marriage vows. Unfortunately , your father may not have and we some evidence that it might be true. Infidelity etc. Then again maybe he just sinned and didn’t keep marriage promises he was capable of keeping. The only way to find out is to go through that annulment process to find out. There’s no guarantee that he is going to get this. You might want to get a book on annulments to understand the situation.There is one by Michael Foster that is helpful.

Thanks to all with your suggestions/information, I value the opinions here on CAF.

An annulment in the Catholic church addresses whether the marriage was sacramental. It has no bearing on the legality of the marriage and has no legal effect on the children.

I was married in the Catholic Church, 2 children and divorced after 18 years. I went through the annulment process after my divorce and found it very healing and cathartic. I have now been married to my second husband in the Church for 20 years. He’s a totally awesome grandpa.

Wish you well. God Bless

No, an annulment looks to see if the marriage was valid. That is different that sacramental. Valid marriages aren’t always sacramental. Such as those between unbaptized people or a christian and an Jew for example.

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