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!!!