Need Advice on Annulment!


#1

Uggh... my finance's annulment is also taking an extremely long time, and there seems to be no movement!!

Here is a breakdown of what has happened.

So, yesterday we received some more disheartening news. My fiancé called his advocate to see if the auditor had been able to look at his case yet, to see if it would be able to move on to the next phase (Publication). Basically, his was told that “no,” it hadn’t been looked at yet, and there was no indication of when it might be looked at… there’s a backlog of cases, etc., etc., etc. Normally, we would expect this. We know that tribunals are slow. We know that they are busy and have a lot of cases with few staff. I know this better than anyone, because I went through my own annulment with the same Archdiocese. But here’s what’s different with his case… it’s been held up, we believe, unnecessarily. And the thing is… there’s no one to turn to for help or advice, because with a touchy topic like marriage annulments, you basically check your “Rights” at the door and leave it to the mercy of the tribunal, and they’ll get to it… whenever they get to it. But then, at the same time, you’re left pondering… if I belong to such a merciful Church, and my Church is trying to carry out Jesus’ mercy here on earth...

o July 2009 — Fiancé sends in initial paperwork to the Tribunal for case acceptance. o September 2009 — tribunal sends out letter stating that case has been accepted, and provides the grounds, assigns an advocate, judge, etc.

o December 2009 — Tribunal has received ALL testimony from my fiancé and ALL of his witnesses… fiancé’s advocate says it should be about another month before case moves to the next phase in the process.

o Mid-January 2010 — Advocate calls my fiancé to tell him that the auditor has send out requests to a counselor that he saw, for them to fill out a questionnaire. Told that they would wait 2 weeks for a response and then move on if there was none.

o Early February 2010 — My fiancé speaks to his advocate who says that they have not received the counselors questionnaire, my fiancé says he’s spoken with the counselor, and she will charge him $150 to complete it. He asks if they need it to move on, or if they will move on without it. Advocate says that he will check with the auditor and then calls my fiancé later that same day, says the auditor does not need the counselor paperwork and not to worry about paying the expense to get it from here, the case will move on without it.

o Mid-to-Late March — fiancé calls the tribunal to check the status of his case, and his advocate says that the auditor is still waiting on the counselor paperwork… my fiancé says that he was told over a month ago that it wasn’t needed, advocate says that now it is… but no one ever called my fiancé to tell him this. If he hadn’t called, he wouldn’t have known they were waiting on the papers! My fiancé immediately calls the counselor, agrees to pay the fee, and gets her to send out the paperwork to the Tribunal. She does so within a couple of days. In the meantime, his advocate set up a meeting with another judge on the tribunal to talk about the case. The other judge says the case already has more than enough evidence to move on without the counselors’ testimony, but that he does not have the power to move it on if the assigned auditor is still looking for it.

o 1 Week Later — fiancé calls the tribunal to ask if the counselor paperwork was received. Told that it had not been received and to call back in a couple weeks because sometimes mail takes a while to get there.

o Early April — fiancé calls again and advocate says that he still hasn’t received the paperwork. Fiancé says that he will get another copy and hand deliver it. Fiancé calls the counselor, gets another copy mailed directly to him, a few days later he receives it, takes the morning off from work and hand-delivers it to the Tribunal. The following day he calls his advocate to see if it is received. Advocate says that “yes,” they got the copy that he hand-delivered and it has been given to the auditor, should be probably another week or two before it gets looked at.

o Late April — fiancé follows up, it still had not been looked at. The system shows it only be transferred to the auditor’s queue on April 15th 2010 (wasn’t it there originally back in January???). Told to wait another 4 to 6 weeks before it was looked at.

o Mid-May — fiancé calls back. Advocate says that the auditor still has not looked at his case, but that he would send an e-mail to him about it. Should be about the time when he starts to look at it.

o Yesterday — fiancé calls the tribunal and his advocate says that the auditor still had not looked at the paperwork, says that he doesn’t know how long it will be, as he does not monitor the auditor’s workload… says to call back in a couple weeks. My fiancé asks if he would have better luck if another auditor took on the case. His advocate says “no,” all the auditors are backlogged. o

But shouldn’t my fiancé’s paperwork be somewhere on the top of the pile, since it has been in the auditor’s hands since January? So here’s where we stand… still waiting, hoping, praying… but quickly and surely losing heart and growing discouraged. It almost seems like the tribunal would rather have people give up on the process and stray away from the Church, then to help us and minister to us and help us to heal. I’m at a loss of what to do. So is he. We are waiting. We fear in two weeks when we call again it will be the same story.

Isn’t there some “rights” that my fiancé has with regard to his case getting moved on? Isn’t there someone else at the tribunal that he can speak to??

Does anyone have any advice... please... help us!!!


#2

Uh oh. I will pray for you both, I'm afraid that's all I can offer.

Um, which Archdiocese is this happening at? (I am going through an annulment myself.)


#3

If this whole process only started in July of last year, then there’s probably still more time to wait. 18 months seems to be the standard timeframe from the people I know who have gone through the process (and that was in smaller dioceses). If you’re in an archdiocese, it might take longer. It all depends on the number of cases they’re dealing with.

The snafu with the Counselor’s paperwork is unfortunate, but these types of oversights happen as the auditor’s are only human. I understand your frustration, but I would encourage you to try not to feel slighted. The Tribunal office isn’t out to get you or make your life miserable. In order to be fair, they have to process everything in the order in which it is received. It wouldn’t be fair to everyone else if they let people “cut in line”, so to speak. I understand why you feel you should be bumped up a bit because of the error, though. I don’t know if there’s really anything you can do about it, though. :frowning:

Many dioceses have been hit hard by the economic crisis. When the economy is in bad shape, people give less, which means that often there are less people to do the work that needs to get done.

Going through this process certainly helps one to grow in the virtue of patience! :o I will pray for you.


#4

You need to start pondering God’s will in this an not yours. These things take time. To suggest that the Church - THE BRIDE OF CHRIST - is not merciful is insulting to her. Be patient, and whatever happens happens. Are you prepared for what you will do if his marriage is found to be valid?

What are you doing engaged to a married man anyway? :confused:

~Liza


#5

[quote="lizaanne, post:4, topic:199138"]

What are you doing engaged to a married man anyway? :confused:

[/quote]

I know it's probably not my place. But I don't understand why anyone would date, let alone be engaged, to someone who was not free to marry.


#6

[quote="YourWillBeDone, post:1, topic:199138"]
Uggh... my finance's annulment is also taking an extremely long time, and there seems to be no movement!!

Does anyone have any advice... please... help us!!!

[/quote]

My advice is that you stop referring to this married man as your fiancee.
You have probably been offending people right and left if this is the way you describe him.
In every sense, he is still very much a married man and he can't be anyone's fiancee.
If you are saying that he is (as you talk to Tribunal people), surely they will notice that.
Pressure from an "engaged" couple is a no-go for the Tribunal.
Hasn't anyone mentioned that to you???


#7

Lizaanne,

The one thing that I have found in this forum, is that many people are over-critical and quick to judge, instead of giving compassionate and merciful advice.

Without knowing the whole situation, and without knowing us personally, please don’t be so quick to judge.

We are both definitely pondering God’s will for us, and we are both defintely being respectful of the process and respectful of how we are acting during the process.

I challenge those who are quick to judge us, to also act with Christ’s mercy. Place yourself in the shoes of the original poster.

We, as Catholics, are just trying to live our lives the best that we can and follow the Lord’s teaching the best that we can. However, live isn’t easy, it isn’t always clear cut, and it isn’t always black and white. Things happen, we have crosses to bear. We meet people we didn’t intend to meet. We end up in situations that we never chose to have.

Prayers would be more helpful than criticism… I am prayerful every day, and I know and trust that God is listening to me.

What if you were the one that had to go through the heartbreaking process of an annulment, or your daughter, or your son… would you be so quick to judge.

I do not, or would ever wish anyone in the world to have to go through anything like this… EVER… it is not what any of us would choose.

But often… we don’t choose the biggest crosses that we must endure in live. No, rather, they are handed down to us by the Lord, to make us stronger.

Thank you.


#8

Ahhhhh - YES.


#9

And to the others… I am considering not posting to this forum anymore, if I can only get judgemental responses… instead of realistic, and compassionate adivce.

Does anyone out there have that?


#10

The Lord never hands one the “cross” of being engaged to a married man.
That sort of “cross” is of one’s own invention.
Please re-define your “relationship” and your attitude.


#11

Judgmental = responses you don’t like

Compassionate = responses you do like

No one is judging you. The facts are there. You are engaged to someone not free to marry. You are emotionally involved and getting frustrated. It is understandable that you are getting frustrated because you want to move past this and get married. So, it is not judgmental to point out that the tribunal might find that the marriage is valid and then you will not be able to move on. It is not judgmental to suggest you pull back emotionally and get some objectivity.

The Tribunal isn’t the customer service department at Macy’s. No he does not have any “rights” to demand they move forward, to push up the timeline, etc. He has a right to petition, based on the Church’s merciful decision to entertain petitions at all. They do not have to do so.

You are looking at it from the perspective that you have a right and they serve you. But, no, the Tribunal does not serve you. It serves the Church. So, try to keep that in mind.


#12

[quote="1ke, post:11, topic:199138"]
Judgmental = responses you don't like

Compassionate = responses you do like

No one is judging you. The facts are there. You are engaged to someone not free to marry. You are emotionally involved and getting frustrated. It is understandable that you are getting frustrated because you want to move past this and get married. So, it is not judgmental to point out that the tribunal might find that the marriage is valid and then you will not be able to move on. It is not judgmental to suggest you pull back emotionally and get some objectivity.

The Tribunal isn't the customer service department at Macy's. No he does not have any "rights" to demand they move forward, to push up the timeline, etc. He has a right to petition, based on the Church's merciful decision to entertain petitions at all. They do not have to do so.

You are looking at it from the perspective that you have a right and they serve you. But, no, the Tribunal does not serve you. It serves the Church. So, try to keep that in mind.

[/quote]

1ke - perfect response.


#13

My husband, before we started dating, received an annulment and I'm always surprised at the people on here that say there's went so fast. I wasn't really involved in a lot of what was going on, because we were just friends, but I think he sent in his initial paperwork in September of '07 and received his declaration of nullity in February of '09. And we are in a small diocese, so I can't imagine the backlog at a large diocese. He never called (that I know of, but knowing him, I don't think so), and the only time he 'checked' on it was when he received letters from the diocese. I do remember when he went in to do his testimony because I had to take my national boards just thirty minutes away so we drove together, and that would have been in July '08.

Anyway, I can't offer much advice, except to say that I think it's important not to push so much. I think that it might be best to just offer it up and let it be in God's hands, He knows what is right for us. And, for what it's worth, I know waiting is hard. Once we were engaged I had to file for my Petrine Privilege case and that took about 6 months, and the waiting was AWFUL! *In case people don't know on here, you actually HAVE to be engaged first before you can file for the Petrine Privilege, as it dissolves a natural marriage and is not a declaration of nullity.


#14

[quote="1ke, post:11, topic:199138"]
Judgmental = responses you don't like

Compassionate = responses you do like

No one is judging you. The facts are there. You are engaged to someone not free to marry. You are emotionally involved and getting frustrated. It is understandable that you are getting frustrated because you want to move past this and get married. So, it is not judgmental to point out that the tribunal might find that the marriage is valid and then you will not be able to move on. It is not judgmental to suggest you pull back emotionally and get some objectivity.

The Tribunal isn't the customer service department at Macy's. No he does not have any "rights" to demand they move forward, to push up the timeline, etc. He has a right to petition, based on the Church's merciful decision to entertain petitions at all. They do not have to do so.

You are looking at it from the perspective that you have a right and they serve you. But, no, the Tribunal does not serve you. It serves the Church. So, try to keep that in mind.

[/quote]

I think this summarizes this situation well.

The Tribunal has to cross every t and dot every i. You and your fiance are frustrated with this, but it is for your own good.

There are some objective facts here.


#15

Oh believe me - I speak from a great deal of personal experience in this department.

God gave me the gift of judgement - it’s how I know the difference between right and wrong, how I make decisions in my life. Without judgement we would all be lost and wandering without knowing where to go.

Life is black and white - the laws of God are black and white. We are the ones who make it gray when we make poor JUDGEMENT.

I am sorry you are not liking the responses you are receiving - not sure what you expected when asking for advice.

~Liza


#16

To the original poster,

i hear your pain and frustration over top of everything else.
i dont' know how long you have been Catholic but i have only been in the Church a few years and agree that some things about annulments are very confusing.

you have the LAW and you have REALITY. Things do happen that do not fit into other people's religious boxes and you do the best you can to abide by ALL that God expects of you.
you have the INSTITUTION God created and anointed and then you have the PEOPLE who carry it out. God is perfect but his people are not and they are not always a good example of HIS hands or feet or mouth even.

There are two people in every marriage relationship and both of them do not always considers what the CHURCH says or does to be binding on future or past relationships.

I happened to be in the middle of my 2nd marriage when i began the process of joining the church and my first didn't give a fig about Catholic annulments and my 2nd husband gave lip service to the church for my sake and is now divorced and gone from me and does not care either about any scripture or church pronouncement. i got the first annulment and am pretty sure based upon my 2nd's behavior of getting this one also. I am not casual or careless about this but i did make some bad, uninformed choices before i ever knew the Catholic Church's teachings.
i am doing the best i know to live and abide by the Church's dictates but i understand how things can happen.

you don't set out to get involved and you keep yourself out of situations that would purposely cause you to sin but sometimes God does bring people into your life and you have to exercise every effort to live as pure as you can. But God knows we are humans that he created - he called us sheep - we're weak, we need rescuing, we need compassion and a loving hand and sometimes his crook to bring us back.

as for rights - you have very few "rights" in the Catholic church. I feel compassion for you and will pray for you and your situation. Take care.


#17

However…

Jesus never said it would be easy, but he said it would be worth it.

I believe that God blesses those that are faithful to him. Check out the Infant of Prague.

The Church teaches that no annulment, no marriage, for good reason. This is a perfect example of why people shouldn’t date/get engaged while they are not free to marry. It’s not judgemental. It’s just the facts.


#18

I have placed a request with the forum moderator that this thread be deleted and my account be cancelled.

Hopefully, they will comply with my request.

Thank you.


#19

[quote="YourWillBeDone, post:18, topic:199138"]
I have placed a request with the forum moderator that this thread be deleted and my account be cancelled.

Hopefully, they will comply with my request.

Thank you.

[/quote]

I know that you're going through a trial and some of the posters have been rather blunt, but we still love you! :hug1:


#20

What exactly do you have an issue with? You came here asking for advice - we gave it to you. You don’t like what you are hearing, so you run away? You can’t expect to deal in a healthy way with bad news if this is how you are reacting to GOOD and ACCURATE advise (that you asked for) on the most Catholic forum on the internet.

We ARE trying to help you. You just don’t seem to want to hear anything.

:shrug: :frowning:

~Liza


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