Marriage- Dispensation of Form

I hope this is the right forum for this.

Has anybody here had a dispensation of form for their marriage. If so, could you tell me what the process is like?

My boyfriend is Lutheran and I am a Catholic convert. I am the only Catholic out of either of our families. We met with the preist today to talk about marriage prep, and although we are not officially engaged (much less have a date) he wanted us to go ahead and register and fill out the dispensation of form. Obviously nothing is set in stone, but I am 99% sure that we will not want/have a Catholic wedding. (And please do not debate about the right or wrong of that. We already discussed it with the priest).

I’m wondering what exactly happens when you are granted a dispensation. The priest we talked with today has not even been ordained a year and has never done a dispensation, so this is new to all of us. How long does it normally take? Other than the typical marriage prep, is there anything else you have to do? I read somewhere about a convalidation taking place a year after the ceremony. Is that normal? Does that mean for that year you are not officially married and cannot engage in marital relations? I want to make sure we do this the right way so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

[quote="EeyoresButerfly, post:1, topic:179168"]
I hope this is the right forum for this.

Has anybody here had a dispensation of form for their marriage. If so, could you tell me what the process is like?

My boyfriend is Lutheran and I am a Catholic convert. I am the only Catholic out of either of our families. We met with the preist today to talk about marriage prep, and although we are not officially engaged (much less have a date) he wanted us to go ahead and register and fill out the dispensation of form. Obviously nothing is set in stone, but I am 99% sure that we will not want/have a Catholic wedding. (And please do not debate about the right or wrong of that. We already discussed it with the priest).

I'm wondering what exactly happens when you are granted a dispensation. The priest we talked with today has not even been ordained a year and has never done a dispensation, so this is new to all of us. How long does it normally take? Other than the typical marriage prep, is there anything else you have to do? I read somewhere about a convalidation taking place a year after the ceremony. Is that normal? Does that mean for that year you are not officially married and cannot engage in marital relations? I want to make sure we do this the right way so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

[/quote]

What you need is a "dispensation from canonical form". That is, if I'm reading your post correctly and you want to be married in front of a Lutheran minister?

Here's what happens.

The priest still needs to fill-out all the standard marriage forms. He'll need a recent baptismal certificate for you (not a copy, but one recently issued from your church of baptism) and some kind of certificate of baptism for your boyfriend.

In addition to that, he will need some kind of "dispensation form" from the diocese. Each diocese does these forms differently, although they will all essentially say the same thing. Sometimes the forms are printed together (they're tacked-on to the end of the standard form) or they might be seperate papers. Either way, these are standard forms that will be in the parish files.

Most (actually all) of the forms that I've seen have "check boxes" next to a list of typical reasons for a dispensation or permission.

The priest will need to check two parts:

  1. Permission for mixed religion (c 1124, a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic) (note on #1 not "disparity of cult")
  2. Dispensation from canonical form (c. 1127 marriage in a non-Catholic religious ceremony)

There might be a 3rd permission to hold the ceremony in a place other than a Catholic church or chapel--if you're asking for this as well.

You will need to give a reason for the request (that's important because the diocese can't consider a request w/o a reason). Some of the forms have typcial reasons listed. If one of these applies, check that box.

Once all these are completed, the whole packet is mailed to the diocese.

Once the diocese receives it, the proper person(s) will consider it, and IF APPROVED will return the forms along with a letter stating that the marriage can go forward under those conditions.

This sort of thing does not take very long, and it's usually routine if there's nothing else which would cause a delay. The typical time-frame is a minimum of 1 month, and usually no more than 3 months (not that it takes 3 months, but that the diocese wants at least that much lead-time). The diocese will have a policy on how early the forms need to be sent, and this is sometimes printed on the forms themselves.

Don't be concerned about what you heard with regard to a convalidation--that's something entirely different. The part that you heard about "1 year" is that the Church wants to make sure that there's at least some stability in the civil marriage before considering a convalidation. But that doesn't apply in your case, because you're not asking about a convalidation.

Hope that helps.

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