Do I have a good case for annulment?

I am wondering if I have grounds for an annulment.

My husband, who isn’t a practicing Catholic, blind sided me with telling me last night he wanted a divorce. We’ve been married 13 years and have a daughter together. But I also feel that our marriage is based on two big lies. The first lie is the marriage itself. Back when we were married, he was a junior enlisted in the Navy. He convinced me that we should get a civil marriage a year before our “real” marriage so that he could earn more money. Against wiser judgment, I went along with it (and have always felt guilty about the rouse we did to the Church). We were married with a traditional Catholic wedding a year later never telling the Church we were already married. We never finished filing the first marriage to avoid conflicting legal records, but I have the original civil marriage certificate.

The second lie was discovered a few months into our marriage I found out he was having an affair… with a man. He then informed me he was bisexual and didn’t see a problem with having a relationship with a man.

We worked though that, I forgave and moved on (he also had a recent affair with a woman—which is a whole new problem. But I don’t think it would be related to an annulment). Around this time he also told me he didn’t really want children, even though that was part of the understanding of the marriage. Although later on we did have a child…. But then he informed me that we were “one and done.” Since I don’t use contraception, we pretty much stopped marital relations at that point.

I’ve tried to make things work. I’ve prayed. I set us up for counseling. I’ve altered my whole life and sacrificed my dreams of a multi-child family to appease him. But none of it’s worked. I would like an annulment because recent events opened old wounds and with years of maturity behind me, I personally feel the marriage was a sham from the start with the Civil marriage for money and the whole “bi-sexual” surprise. If I don’t get an annulment, I will live with that cross to bear (no relationships with other men because I am spiritually still married). And honestly, I am burnt out on relationships after the ups and downs of the past 13 years and would be at peace single. I am not actively looking to date someone when the divorce is final. But at the same time, if I can, I would like to wipe the slate clean and open up possibilities for myself, just in case… but only if it’s legal in the eyes of the Church.

He said he would support me in seeking and annulment, although I doubt he would admit to the bisexual part since he has a military security clearance that would be jeopardized. It would be my word against his.

Based on this, does anyone think I have a good case for annulment? After the legal divorce, I would hope to pursue this.

EDIT: ops, I found a typo that changed the whole meaning of a sentence. Just wanted to fix it.

Not that my opinion matters, but I think you have good reason to start the process. I will pray for you and your family.

Possibly, based on lack of free consent. Since he didn’t reveal what he knew about his sexuality you weren’t given the opportunity to freely consent to marrying him.

Regardless of whether you do or not - you should go through the process of petitioning for a Declaration of Nullity.

Purchase this book: The Wedding That Was - it is invaluable in understanding what the process entails, helping to understand what a valid and invalid marriage is, and gives many scenarios to help understand this complex process.

For your own piece of mind - just do it. It is a very difficult and emotional process, and it may take a very long time (could be a year or more) before you get a response. But in the end it is a cathartic experience that many of us here are glad we went through, in spite of the pain, time, and effort it takes to get it done.

God bless - you sound like you need some healing, and that you have the proper understanding of life in the future for you if your marriage is indeed found to be valid.

~Liza

Based on my understandings of grounds for an annulment, yes you have sufficient grounds. Probably more because of his not revealing his sexual issues than for the “civil marriage” issue.

I believe that the divorce has to be final before you can file for the annulment, but you certainly can begin to investigate the process. Contact you parish and get hooked up with the person who knows best.

Good Luck

Peace
James

Obviously, none of us here are competent to make a judgment on the issue, but from what you have said, it definitely seems worth pursuing. Talk to your parish priest and contact your Diocesan Tribunal Office for more information.

Thank you all.

Annulment will be a ways down the road I guess. It sounds like I have to get though the divorce itself first. There is just so much going on right now for me to consider. But basically I was just trying to figure out if it would be worth going though the process. It sounds like it is.

In the meantime, I plan to make an appointment with my parish priest. I am not sure what to say to him, maybe I will just seek guidance.

[edited] go to your parish priest or to contact the chancery office of the diocese you live in to ask for an appointment with a priest on the marriage tribunal to talk about it.To get contact information for your chancery office you could go on google and type in the name of your diocese.

I would say with his affairs (regardless of who they were with) you might have a case based on “lack of intent to remain faithful”. That’s what was used for my parents annulment. This might be a easier pill for him to swallow as then you don’t have to specifically bring out what sex…just that he had several affairs and that for how it sounds–he never intended to remain faithful going into the marriage.

I will pray for you!

PS–hopefully you can also explain to your daughter what this means. My parents never told me and for years I thought it made me illegitimate–it doesn’t!

Also, keep in mind that testimony made to a marriage tribunal is kept confidential. As long as it is not part of a published record available to the public, the military is not going to go after it, either. Once your husband verifies this, he will probably be willing to tell the whole truth about his part in your marriage and the true sentiments he held when he made his vows to you.

Thank you again!

One other thing I just thought of. With the visitation we’ve discussed, my daughter will be with her father every other weekend. He is Catholic, but hasn’t gone to Church in years. I doubt he’d take her to Church (although I can request it). Since she is under age and can’t get herself to Church, I am hoping she will not be in a state of sin, correct?

I might be able to work a deal with her father so that he can take her to Church Sunday mornings (and welcome him to go too). So far he’s been pretty accommodating saying he wants me to have custody, the house, the dogs, etc., etc.

Correct. Sin is a choice against God. If she cannot get to Mass through no fault of her own, that would not be a sin for her. You and she can ask, but you can’t force him to take her to Mass. That wouldn’t be her fault.

Hopefully that won’t be an issue, though.

If he’s good about being on time for personal appointments, you might also be able to meet him at a parish with a Sunday evening Mass, to pick her up from him each weekend he has her, and only ask him to take her to Mass during his time with her when that is not possible.

These are sad things to have to think about. My heart goes out to you.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.