Help with an annullment question


Hello all!

I was working with a parish priest on my annullment. I got my letter from the tribunal stating a lay couple from my parish would be my advocates, not the priest. I don't care if it is this particular priest, my feel hesitant to use lay people from within my parish. does anyone have any suggestions?


In our diocese, most of the parish advocates are lay people or, in parishes that have them, deacons. The advocates receive specialized training in the workings of the tribunal and are considered permanent members of the parish as opposed to the pastors who are assigned for a certain time period. The annullment process, beyond an initial meeting, is not usually part of a parish priest's regular job duties.

If you feel stongly about using a member of the clergy for your case, you could ask the diocese to help you find someone. But if your parish has lay advocates, it is unlikely that the priests in your have received the training. You would likely be assigned to work with a priest in another parish if one was available.


I have a lay advocate working with me and she’s very knowledgable.


I've never been involved in annulment proceeding, but I have been involved in regular court proceedings, so let me suggest this:

If you REALLY want to obtain the RESULT that YOU want from this annulment proceeding, then YOU had better EDUCATE yourself about the Church laws and procedures regarding annulments. I've seen SO many people put their full faith and trust in advocates or attorneys (same thing, really) and end up SO upset when, after the results turn bad, they realize that their advocate or attorney really wasn't working hard on their case, or really wasn't an expert in the matter, or both.

So, use the best trained advocates that you can get. But take the time to read and study become your own expert on annulments. It's all on the Internet. Its not that hard to learn. Trust me. You can do it. I've seen many people will little or no education become more knowledgeable about the law and procedure of their particular case than the lawyer who was representing them.


I had a married man lay advocate for my annulment, and found him very good, easy to talk to, and understanding through experience of marriage. As a woman, I found it a bit strange at first talking to a man, but then if I’d had a priest I’d have had a male as well.

I think in this case, the dissolution of my marriage, I think I benefited from having a lay person, who had experienced the state of marriage, rather than our parish priest, who had entered the seminary at age 12.


my parish uses lay advocates…in my case, my advocate assists simply by mailing in certain documents and making sure i fill them out correctly…

IMHO, of more importance than your lay advocate are your witnesses…


You can ask the tribunal if they have a list of available advocates to choose from. God bless.


As Corki suggests, priests are not always as knowledgeable about the annulment process as you might think they should be. While priests do receive training in how to evaluate a couple’s readiness to marry, the majority have not done extensive study of marriage law and tribunal processes. There’s a good chance that the lay advocates understand the process better than your pastor.

You are certainly free to ask to work with a priest but don’t be surprised that it takes longer to handle your case if you do so.


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