[quote="Godfollower, post:15, topic:305033"]
Changing your mind after the wedding isn't grounds for a decree of nullity. Sometimes your actions after the wedding are indicative of your intent (or lack of intent) during the wedding; but that's another story.
Consider the following scenarios:
]A man and woman move in together and live together for 30 years, raising five children together. They never have a wedding. They are not married. *Some** U.S. states would call them "common-law" married, but only if they held themselves out as married the whole time; and the Catholic Church would not consider them married.
*]Two teenagers have sex, and the girl's father finds out. Very soon thereafter they have a shotgun wedding. The groom is asked "Will you have her as your wife?" and he responds, "Well, actually ... [sound of gun cocking] ... yeah! Sure!" They are not married. The courts in practically every state in the U.S. would issue -- wait for it -- a decree of nullity. So would the Catholic Church.
*]A man gets married and walks out on his wife. Several years later -- without ever obtaining a divorce from his first wife -- he marries another woman. They are not married. The courts in practically every state in the U.S. would issue -- you guessed it -- a decree of nullity. So would the Catholic Church.
A decree of nullity can be granted by the civil courts. A decree of nullity can also be granted by the Catholic Church -- but, since it isn't a government, it can't affect the civil rights of the parties. A Catholic decree of nullity only addresses the Catholic Church's view of the status of the parties, whereas a Kansas or Oklahoma or New Hampshire decree of nullity actually affects the parties' rights (they can't be responsible for each other's medical bills, they don't inherit from each other, etc.).
A decree of nullity addresses only one thing: it declares that the parties' putative ("apparent") wedding did not occur validly. It has nothing to do with what happened after the wedding, because what happens after the wedding doesn't affect the validity of the wedding. It only declares officially that the wedding wasn't valid (for whatever reason).
Hope this helps.
Yes, I understand. It has to do with whether the marriage was validly contracted at its outset. Because once married, it is permanent and unbreakable.
And yet, it sometimes seems to be somewhat analogous to the "once saved, always saved" doctrine of many Protestants. Somebody gets saved at age 21. Later, they turn into a serial murderer. Are the still saved? Well, no, because they were never really saved to begin with.
Yeah, maybe it's an unfair analogy. But in the end can anyone be sure they're saved? Can anyone be sure they're married?
There seem to be a lot of null marriages.