New rules for declarations of nullity

I am confused. Please help if you know the answer here.

I am almost 2 years into the process of seeking an annulment. Almost 5 months with the file complete and awaiting the judges ruling. I have no idea how much longer I have to wait, and they will not give me a clue. Through this process I have lost considerable faith and respect for the process, at least as my diocese handles it. I am not looking at waht comes next and I have seen conflictng information.

If the request is denied and I appeal it to the appropriate archdiocese, what happens then?

Under the new rules, if the appeals court overturns the court of first instance, is it a done deal? Or does it then have to go to the Roman Rota?

Recent articles online indicate that it no longer needs to go to Rome, but my Diocesan website seems to indicate that it would have to.

From what I have read, sending it to the Roman Rota would be nothing but a torturous waste of time.

I apprecaite any help on this, but if you are not certain, please dont confuse me more than I already am! Thnaks!

Judging by what you have shared here, the whole process has been a torturous waste of time.

Try watching this video, I hope it doesnt waste your time but it does go over some of the changes in the process.

I would recommend contacting both tribunals of the court of first instance (your diocese) AND the court of second instance (appellate court at the Archdiocese) and ask this very question of both. Hopefully you can get some clarification. Have you not been assigned an advocate by the Tribunal?

I cant remember at this stage if I was assigned an advocate. I think maybe I was, but I have had not contact with one if so. Both Tribunals make contact very difficult (mail only) and I am currently overseas, so almost pointless to try by mail ,

At least contact the diocese of origin and request the name and contact of your advocate. Then, ask for their help, at least.
I am sorry for your difficulty in this.

You don’t have a decision yet. Why take on worry when in all reality you don’t have anything to worry about.

Because I like to plan ahead.

Thanks for sharing. I watched 3/4 of it. I did learn a lot as I am into the second year of
my process.

Torturous but not a waste of time. It’s not a waste of time to try to get your marriage fixed up if you believe it needs to be done for your own advancement in holiness…

I’m praying for you, OP. YES, I had to do it, too!

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the
fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners
NOW and at the hour of our death. Amen!

Well, it would appear that you would need to wait until you hear something to make further plans. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth patiently waiting for.

I would think it would be torturous and a waste of time if they ruled your previous marriage was not seen as invalid.
I am single and not engaged and I find it distressing.

I agree with the stressful part. But not the waste of time part. It’s never a waste of time trying to do the thing you think is best for your holiness… otherwise why start it in the first place???

I started it because it is part of being Catholic.

I would encourage you to not plan (stress) until you have something to plan (stress) about. Trust God, offer up your worries to Him, and be patient. Say a novena for an answer soon. It’s all in God’s hands anyway, let Him have it.

From the archdiocesan website, Harrisburg, PA:

Under the revised law, if no one (i.e., neither party nor the defender of the bond) appeals an affirmative decision within fifteen days, it becomes executory. That is true at the first instance level or at any appellate level: one un-appealed affirmative decision definitively establishes the nullity of the marriage. This applies to cases whose final sentences are published on or after December 8, 2015.

According to this, it would only go to the Rota if one of the parties appeals the affirmative decision issued by the court of second instance (assuming the Rota isn’t the court of second instance).

Do you believe it is necessary for you well being?

I know that some priests are excellent at preparing the papers and keeping everyone up to speed on the annulment process. You might talk to the person who helped you. If you have the resources you might also talk to a canon lawyer.

As far as I know, my advocate has done nothing but mail in the completed application. I have no idea who actually prepared my case or what strengths or weaknesses my case has. If there were any weaknesses I was not given the opportunity to explain further or present more evidence. The process so far as I can tell is a complete sham. I have no confidence at all that the dioceses is at all interested in learning the truth of our situation. I believe that this is now nothing but a gamble with my life that is depending on the whim of diocesan bureaucrats. That is why I am looking at the prospects of an appeal. At which point I hope to find a canon lawyer to represent me as I now know the diocese couldnt care less.

Have you made the effort to stay in touch with your advocate? You state you can’t remember his/her name.

The process is not a sham, it is the church making the best decision on determining if a marriage existed. In some dioceses there is a huge back log in cases due to the new rules. Are you saying your case should go before others who filed before you. You stated you started the process two years ago and your file was completed 5 months ago. So it appears it took witnesses 18 months to provide statements. Nothing can happen on a case until all the information is gathered. I believe it is unfair to blame the diocese for something that is not their fault.

The best thing you can do is find out who your advocate is and get in touch with that person.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit