How can i present an annulment positively?

my mom is scared to go through the annulment process because a. she doesn’t want people finding about her past and b. she’s afraid that it will be a negative outcome and she thinks then she’ll never be able to join the church

is there any way i can present it positively to her? i’m also afraid of bringing up the subject too often because i know she’ll get angry and defensive if i do and accuse me of "judging’ her

i’ve tried talking to my dad about it to see if he can talk to her but he doesn’t really seem to care either

would there be any options if she were to be rejected for the annulment? besides them splitting up which they wouldn’t do because my mom doesn’t have a job.

i feel like all i can do is pray at least for now

If she is in an invalid marriage, she cannot join the Church. What does she have to lose?

yes i know, not so easy conveying that to her though. she seems to think it’s different for some reason

On what grounds would she seek annulment? Was her first marriage in the Church? Was the person she first married baptized? There are a lot of questions they would ask like that.

If one is Catholic, doesn’t marry in the Church, that’s potentially one on the basis of “lack of form”.

Some parishes have the paperwork to submit online on the parish website, insofar as reasons to seek annulment, evidence and documentation necessary.

First, one would need to know if she would qualify, even potentially.

It’s just a whole lot easier to talk to a priest who knows about all that, since each case is different.

first marriage not in the church, person she married not baptized

that’s the other problem, documentation buried in communist China somewhere

but she won’t even go see the priest but i obviously can’t force her to.

I recall a statue in canon law that gives the option of not tesifying if the testimony could do harm. I would reassure her to follow her heart, and use your own “I” statements of the benefits of being in context with the Church, in regard to her mission. If there is a lack of maturity in this area, then I would refrain from speaking.

“In the multitude of words there shall not want sin: but he that refraineth his lips is most wise.” (Prov 10:19, vulgate)

I’m really left with more questions than answers here…but maybe that is just my own curiosity.

I would suggest that you speak with a priest and share with him any information you have on the matter. Since your mom is concerned about others knowing her past - you can even go to a priest at another parish. Or you could call the chancery for your diocese and speak with someone there knowledgeable on the subject.

The bottom line is that you would be able to get a fairly definitive answer that would indicate that a) an annulment is unlikely or b) there is little doubt that it would be granted or c) something in between.

For now - keep praying. God knows you mom’s heart, her loves, her desires and her fears.

Good luck


As much as everyone would like to help you there really is only one way to proceed and get the answers from the right source, see your priest. While you have stated that she won’t go, there is the opportunity to find out everything she needs to know in a brief meeting. No one has to know she was there or what was discussed and even if she decides to proceed, the only people who would know are those she would asked to respond on her behalf. I hope you can talk her into an initial meeting with a priest.

I don’t think the Annulment process is made public so she shouldn’t worry about that. My second husband went thru it and the only people who knew of it were those directly involved and the ones we told. (he was never baptized before and not married in a church.) At that time it had to go to Rome. signed by Pope Paul VI. God Bless, memaw

It isnt really your place to be discussing it with your mother…that may be why shes getting angry and defensive…plus not all annullment…the church may decided she cant have an annullment because her previous marriage is still valid…the best person to talk about this with her and to advise her through the process is a priest…


The Annulment process is strictly confidential. The only people who will be aware of the specifics of the case are those at the Tribunal assigned the case and they are bound by strict confidentiality rules. Believe me, those folks over at the Tribunal are a lot like priests. They have seen and heard everything. And they care! These people want to help folks get right with God. I’d emphasize that. I’d explain to mother that the people who would be handling her case will not speak of it to anyone, ever, and that they are basically shock proof. I’d also explain that these are caring and sympathetic people who want to help her and who will do everything in their power to see her case to completion.

They deal with unusual situations by providing alternate solutions whenever possible and I am sure they would understand that records would be difficult to obtain from China and may be able to offer alternatives to official records that aren’t available here in the U.S.

I was divorced in 1987, entered the Church in 1997 and then applied for an annulment in 1998. It took almost a year for it to go through, but that may not be the norm. It depends partly on how quick they (the tribunal) get a response from the different parties involved. There were forms to send out to different people who were “witnesses” and also to my ex. Basically it was a matter of was it really a “sacramental” marriage. In my case, they saw it as non-sacramental. My ex was abusive, to say the least. And there were other problems. And the only people who know about it, other than those directly involved in the annulment process, were those I told about it. To me, it was nothing to be ashamed of. Yes, I goofed up by marrying the wrong person and ended up divorced. But that’s all in the past and getting the annulment was just one more step in putting it behind me.

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