Fork in the Road:Truth or Silence (Annulment Question)

I received annulment paperwork in the mail a few weeks ago and have been considering the different ways to respond, including the option of silence.

I am not a Catholic, but she was raised with strict Catholic parents. Our marriage was blessed by the church, even though we married for the wrong reasons (pregnancy). We stayed married for several years full of neglect, drug abuse, and infidelity on her part. I was also neglectful because I adapted to the unhealthy environment and enabled her instead of seeking professional help.

My hesitation in signing the annulment is that she has manipulated the children and others with devastating false claims. Also, she tends to “find religion” when it suits her needs. Currently, that seems to be to please her parents to whom she lives with and her “spiritual advisor”, who has been referred to as a ‘sugar daddy’ to others (oh, but she was only joking!). Many suspect that she is looking for husband #4, and if her eye is on this “advisor”, an annulment will be in order so that they may marry in the church.

She has been married 2 other times since our divorce, and professionals have indicated their concern of her stability - which is why I have primary custody of the children (in which I make sure they attend Catholic church and Sunday school on a regular basis while in my care).

She also made a financial statement to the courts that she donates $XXX to the church every month, but has not contributed to the financial or medical needs of our children.

Do I hold my tongue and put my faith in God, or do I speak the truth to the annulment committee?

I don’t know why you are hesitating to sign this. Just speak your side as best as you can.

I feel really bad for the children and this “spiritual advisor” if he’s contemplating marrying her.

Sounds like you are providing a good environment for the children which is the primary concern now.

If she’s already been remarried 2x, I don’t understand why the annulment is an issue.

If you want to remarry, it will need to get it cleared up anyway. I’d say to go ahead and sign it – any costs should be borne by her.

God bless you for raising the children in the church! Perhaps through your example they will desire to have sacramental marriages (that’s the approach I’m taking wth my kids).


What a strange situation! I would say, answer the questions as truthfully as you can and leave the rest up to God. Just continue trying to be the best father you can be and hoping your former wife receives the healing she needs. It sounds like you are already doing the best you can do.

God is truth. As Catholics, we believe that telling the truth is necessary. Granted, some of us honor that requirement more in the breach than we should, but that’s God’s rule. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32.

So, by all means, tell the truth. Be nice about it, of course, but be honest. Perhaps she will be granted a decree of nullity; perhaps not. But see to it that, whatever happens, it was based on you telling the truth.

And talk to a lawyer about her failure to support your children financially. When you fail to collect the money she owes, that’s the kids’ money you’re giving up, not yours.

It sounds like you’re trying to do the right thing by your kids. That’s what really matters in God’s eyes, and I commend you for it. God bless you, and good luck raising your children.

Nina, the annulment is not the issue here. It is whether or not I sign the paperwork in silence and agree to whatever claims she has made, or give my version of the truth.
Also, I did remarry a few years after the divorce. My wife is very supportive in the children’s faith and upbringing.

I am not Catholic, but if signing this annulment gives us all peace, it will be very much worth it. Let’s just say that I am tired of misconstrued beliefs being held over my head.

Now I understand. I can relate to the situation where there are probably half-truths and out and out lies that might have been said about you and perhaps through this process you will have a chance to get your side told and heard.

While you complete the paperwork, if there is a questionnaire, like another post said, be truthful. If there is an opportunity to include your narrative, then be as honest and truthful as possible. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I have heard that annulments can actually be very healing. I haven’t pursued one yet, but I can see where this could be very helpful.

God bless and I will pray for you and your family.

At the risk of sounding like a daytime chat show psychologist, you need to let this go and seek closure. If you don’t want this for yourself, do this for your kids.

Sign what needs to be signed.

And then contact your family law attorney and make sure there is a proper child support order in place. If there isn’t, get one. Your kids deserve to be financially supported by both their mom and their dad.

I would tell your side of the story with honesty. The tribunal needs to know the truth. They have a judgement call to make on whether she is able to validly contract a marriage.

If it really matters to you, go ahead and give your side of the story. Perhaps your point of view will assist the tribunal in reaching the correct conclusion and you’ll feel better after unburdening yourself.

But I have to wonder…as a non-Catholic, why do you even care? If it was me, I’d deposit the paperwork in the circular file and get on with my life.

Why do I care, since I’m not Catholic? It’s because the claims she has made are not only to the church and other people, but to the children. She gets her annulment based on her word, and she will tell everyone, including the children, that she is telling the truth.

I will not go in to details as to what her claims are, but they are serious and horrid. She has already told the children (and everyone else) her version of why she walked out - and they are confused. Very confused. I am made out to be a monster, but I demonstrate to our children otherwise. History has taught me that the annulment would be way for her to “prove” her claims are true. It’s hard to explain.

Anyone ever read the book “Narcissistic Predicaments and the Holy Bible”? I believe that is the title. Let’s just say that I can relate to many examples in that book.

Perhaps I need to sit the children down and explain to them that by signing the paperwork, I am not admitting her claims are true.

dazed - keep in mind that there is no such thing as “annulling” a marriage. The Tribunal will make the determination if the marriage was ever valid or invalid at the moment it occurred. What happened after the wedding day is irrelevant, though it may lend light to a possible unstable situation prior to the wedding taking place.

Be truthful, answer fully. It is possible for the Tribunal to put limitations on her ability to marry, and if it is in the best interest of the children or her own soul, they may do that based on all testimony received.

Again - be honest, provide your side of the story, sign it, and get on with your own life.

(also - please do consider becoming Catholic. :slight_smile: )


I can sympathize with you over this kind of predicament. There are an unbelievble number of women out there who will lie beyond belief in order to get what they want. I’m very close with a woman who actually went so far as to tell the people at SVDP that her former husband raped her and beat her daughter so that they would provide her with a free divorce attorney and she didn’t see anything wrong with it. When asked how she can justify lying about the father of her child that way she said that’s what everyone says so they can get custody of their kids. She’s got a problem now though because her attorney, who thinks her exhusband is a child-beating rapist, is ready to have her committed because she tells him that she wants joint physical custody. She needs exactly 3.5 childless days a week so she can have a “social life”.
Anyway, back to the point. The best thing you can do is tell the truth. Unfortunatly, your former wife may want to lie to your kids and the only thing you can do is tell the truth and make your life with them a testement to the truth. In regards to the tribunal, even if they do declare your marriage null, that doesn’t mean that they believed all of her side. It isn’t a contest. They could listen to her story and compare it to the reality of how well you’ve taken care of you kids and say, “She’s too crazy to be validly married.” It isn’t meant to be a slight toward you in any way. Anyway, I’m praying for your family for all the trouble to come to a peaceful end.

Allegra, you hit the nail on the head - this isnt a contest. Unfortunately, it feels like a tug-of -war even prior to the divorce (with the kids and with the truth). We are in the midst of a final hearing coming up soon.

If I may ask, please say prayers for the children and that God will see that they are taken care of and kept from harm NO MATTER where the courts place them. And whatever lesson I need to learn from this situation, I am trying to listen carefully and do what is best.


As someone who works in a tribunal, I would echo what others have said and encourage you to tell the truth and also tell the tribunal your impressions of the honesty (or lack thereof) of your ex, as well as what you think her motivations might be. You have a right to protect your good name and defend yourself against unjust and false accusations. You can take this as far as you’d like, including having witnesses testify on your behalf.

I know of other men who are going through similar treatment. Be assured of my prayers.


It is absolutely appalling to me that this sort of behavior has become so commonplace. How someone can so flippantly justify lying about their children’s father or mother in order to gain custody is beyond me, and yet I’ve know otherwise normal-seeming people who do it without a second thought. Sometimes, I think they are even able to convince themselves that what they said was true because it makes them feel like their divorce was justified. The good news is, I think the courts are finally on to them. The bad news is, short of appointing a child advocate to make sure the parents aren’t devastating the kids too blatantly, I’m not sure what they can do about it.

Please be honest and tell your side of the story. The Tribunal needs to know this in order to make the proper decision.

With the feedback received on here, and doing some research on annulment, I have decided to participate in the questionaire and possibly provide my own witnesses. I have only received a request to participate at this time, and answered the Yes and No’s on the form.

Thank you all for the feedback. If there are some other reliable websites that provide information on the process, please point me in that direction.

Yes, tell the truth. Read the instructions carefully, so you will give the testimony being asked for, with the amount of detail needed to be useful but without throwing in stuff that is irrelevant or beyond your expertise. The more your testimony fully answers the questions posed, the easier it will be for the tribunal to arrive at the correct conclusion.

I don’t have websites to suggest, but I’d like to point out that you are allowed to find a real person to talk to. Be aware that you can avail yourself of a priest or someone from the diocese to answer questions that you have or even to sort out how you feel about this process. In particular, you deserve to have someone knowledgeable explain what is going on, what you can expect, and what the rational is behind the process. You can inquire at a local parish or you can call the chancery office directly to get pointed in the right direction. IOW: you don’t have to be Catholic to ask to talk to a priest. Having been married in the Church and now being asked to cooperate with the investigation of a Catholic tribunal is sufficient. (The truth is, most priests are also more than willing to talk to someone who wants to talk to a priest, even if the person is not baptised and has no connection at all to the Church. Theirs is a unique calling, and most want to share it with anyone who feels it will help them.)

I sincerely hope this process (at least in the end) brings you peace. I suggest you start with the Tribunal office in your Diocese (you should be able to find this on their website). There should be very helpful information there. Also, each annulment is usually assigned to a case manager or representative (in my diocese, these are lay people that have gone through the process themselves so they have a better understanding of it) and they should be there to help walk you through this. It is good that you have chosen to participate.

God bless!

do not understand the choice expressed this way
you tell the truth
all of it

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