Is my annulment still valid?


#1

If an annulment was received and a marriage declared invalid, based on all information given at the time of the investigation by the tribunal, would the annulment still be valid if new information regarding the validity of marriage later came to light?

I was married in November of 2003. Three days before my wedding, unbeknownst to me, my sister’s husband told my fiance that he and I had slept together. This was completely false. My future husband did not ask me whether or not it was true, only asked me the night before our wedding if I had remained “unreservedly” his throughout our engagement and dating period. I assured him that yes, I loved him very much and had always and would always be faithful to him.

We were married the next morning. Later that evening, we consummated our marriage. My husband seemed very agitated and upset with me, and even though I was hurt I brushed it off as new-husband jitters. The next day I commented to him that I wondered if I could be pregnant, as we had consummated our marriage during my peak day and I just “felt” different, though I knew the hormone would not be able to be detected for a couple weeks. This comment enraged my husband as he thought it meant that I had indeed slept with my BIL and was “casually” trying to prepare him for the idea that I could be pregnant but supposedly not let him suspect that he wasn’t the father.

Without confronting me about the information he had previously received from my BIL, my husband left me once the pregnancy was confirmed. He also admitted to me that three days before our wedding, he had slept with a bridesmaid (in anger and hurt after receiving the information from my BIL about my supposed unfaithfulness).

He filed for divorce and I immediately pursued an annulment, as it appeared to me that he was not open to children and he did not understand fidelity in marriage, if he cheated on me right before our marriage. It was granted, though he did not cooperate in the process. He also gave up his rights to our children (I had twins), thinking they weren’t his but choosing not to confirm with a paternity test, as he wanted nothing to do with me.

However, now going on two years later, my BIL admitted to me that he told my ex-husband this untruth and that he purposely did so for selfish reasons. I called my ex-husband and asked him if this was the reason behind his actions, the reason for no explanation given. He was extremely emotional and absolutely shocked to learn that I had not cheated on him, and that I was not carrying on a relationship with my BIL (who has been informing him for the last year and a half that this is the case).

I realize now that it wasn’t my ex-husband’s lack of understanding about marriage nor his dislike for children that caused the demise of our marriage, but my BIL’s lie. My ex-husband wishes to see his children and possibly reconcile. He is wondering if the annullment is valid because it was received without all of the information and now that we both know the cause of his actions were due to my BIL’s lie, what we should do.

However, I am unclear what to do about this because I have begun to move on. I have met someone on CatholicMatch.com and though I have not met him yet, I would like to do so soon and possibly have a life with him. But, I am worried that my responsibility should be to give my (ex?)husband a second chance for the good of my girls and possibly because we were intended to be together, if not still validly married in the eyes of God

Is the annulment valid? Did I have a valid marriage after all? My ex husband says he did not have doubt at the moment of marriage because he asked me about it the night before, and that it wasn’t until later on our wedding night and the morning after that it began to unravel for him. But, his actions basically both before and after our vows would indicate that he did have doubt and reservation, even if it was utterly unfounded.

Please help me and shed some light on this situation!


#2

Dear Murph,

It is possible that your marriage is valid. At this point we know that the annulment was granted without the knowledge of all the facts. I would strongly encourage you to NOT pursue a relationship with someone else.

Your children deserve to live as a family with their mother and father if this is at all possible. And this certainly seems possible. You need to inform the marriage tribunal of all the facts that have just come to light. Check with your priest.

You and your husband and children are in my prayers. I hope your brother-in-law has gone to Confession.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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