Rota and annulments


Does anyone have experience with an annulment being appealed to the Rota in Rome? My fiancee and I have been going through the annulment process for almost a year now…approved by the Archdiocese Tribunal, now going to second Tribunal BUT…his ex-wife, who HATES the Catholic Church even though her father forced her to marry in the church, now has decided to appeal to Rome…they have been divorced for 30 years and she has been a member of Lakewood Church for most of that time, none of the grown children have ever attended a Catholic Church. Why??? From other websites I have seen statistics saying that up to 90% of appeals to Rome were “overturned.” Does anyone have advice? This whole process has been agony.

Thank you. Ann


Tell her you’re offering it up for her conversion back to the faith (over the phone of course) :wink:

Seriously, do so though (but don’t tell her about it). She’s obviously incredibly bitter against one or both of the Church, her ex or yourself. She needs prayer.

Pray to St Monica, or better still St Helena, who went through a very difficult and painful end to her marriage.

Can’t offer too much practical advice, since it’s outside my experience, but I’ll pray for you too. :signofcross:


The Rota still knows that having people live an invalid marriage is an objectively great situation, so to say, so don’t think they are some conservatists with the agenda of not letting people go. :wink: And in fact, if that marriage is actually valid, then you shouldn’t be hoping for it to be declared null regardless. A tribunal that grants nullity decrees freely doesn’t help anyone in so far as are concerned those marriages which are in fact objectively valid. So, trust the Rota. :wink:

Does the ex want to be back together or does she merely want to prevent him from marrying again? If the latter, then even that action alone could actually testify to her this or that defect of consent, lack of will etc. If the father forced her against her will, it’s possible that the scope and effect of coercion made it invalid too.

On the other hand, if the ex actually believes the marriage to be valid and sacramental, then she’s doing what anyone should do in her situation.


Food for thought…thank you for the reply. They have been divorced for 26 years…he has been married two more times since then. He tried to re-connect with her about 5 years ago and they tried for several months, but she left again (as she did four times during their marriage) without telling anyone where she was going. Told him she could not be what he wanted. She has no interest whatsoever in getting back with him…only to control him and his future. He has a therapist report from their counseling saying (in writing) that her stated objective was to “destroy him.” And then she set out to turn the children against him…as all his relatives say. So, she is just a vengeful, bitter person who wants the whole world to be as unhappy as she is…and she is willing to pay $1000.00 to Rome to delay this process. Unbelieveable.



I would forward a copy of that document to Rota… checkmate!


Several separate thoughts here:

First, it is unfortunate that the man you are interested in did not start the nullity process ~25 years ago. He really has no business dating or attempting marriage until he was free to marry, with the secondary effect that his doing so is leaving you “in the lurch” so to speak until he gets this resolved.

Second, the members of the Rota have literally seen everything. His ex-wife’s antics might delay things in the short term, but is going to result in an even more unassailable final resolution than having allowed the second decision to take place at the regional appellate tribunal.

Third, though I don’t doubt your version that his ex-wife was responsible for the failure of his first marriage; that he has attempted marriage twice since then has me concerned for you, especially combined with the fact that he’s apparently waited until you were firmly on the hook before starting the process for requesting a nullity decision. Use this additional delay wisely to consider what exactly the other baggage is coming with him on top of the ex-wife already causing trouble.

Fourth, as counter-intuitive as this might sound, both of you should be praying for his ex-wife. Doing so will help your own spirits and attitudes during this phase of the process.


WOW! You are so right on all counts. He says his first wife “forced him to marry her” the second would “not allow his children to come to the house” and the third was “crazy.” Never any thought as to how he might be at fault. Thank you foir reminding me of what I already knew. I will definitely pray for her, for him, and for all of us.

God Bless.



Hmm… Are you sure you know her motives that well? At any rate, it does look like she has problems. If they date back to the date of marriage, they can well make marriage invalid - and my opinion is that she’s unable to marry anyone in the condition she’s currently in. It’s even possible that the tribunal will attach a clause forbidding her to marry without consent of the ordinary (they can and do such things).

Still, she has the right to her appeal and, well, our primary concern with the verdict should always be if it’s just or not, such as the objective validity or invalidity of marriage should be more important to us than the desire to get out of it is. Rather than a verdict which would please us, we should hope that the tribunal gives a just one. And yes, I know this is difficult to hear. I’m really glad I’m not in such a situation and I hope I’ll never be.


Thank you for the response. Of course she has the right to appeal and if I believed she (or he) had any hope of reconcilling I would not be in the picture. Based on the therapist report that she stated her"goal inl ife was to destroy him" and her subsequent behavior regarding their grown children I sincerely do not believe she is trying to preserve a valid marriage, but, rather, to punish him yet again. However, I have faith in the system and pray for a just outcome…whatever that may be. However…he is a 70 year old man who has had 3 quadruple bypasses, 2 stents, has 60% of his heart permanently dead, and just finished cardiac ablation after 4 shock treatments to try to get out of atrial fibrillation, and…am not sure how much longer he can wait. Each of his three heart attacks came at the end of his marriages and the stress of the separations. We love each other and want to follow the teachings of Jesus, but this is so difficult.


This really does sound like a difficult situation for him (and you) all the way around. :frowning: I say this having an ex with progressive mental illness myself, but am hopeful her mean streak isn’t as extreme (or that she’s generally given up already, as I’ve done a good job of imitating Teflon with what she’s pulled so far while several things she started have blown up in her face). I am thinking “there but the grace of God I go”, but then I’m still in the early stages of my nullity petition too and don’t have anyone else in mind. This isn’t easy, and I’m not where you are, but I’m probably closer than most…

Now, in case I sounded too serious earlier (as I wrote my post in breaks waiting for results while I was testing cantankerous database code): By your description your man has a habit of attempting marriage with certifiably crazy (bitter, vindictive, uncooperative) women. He is intending to marry you. Now, setting aside the Mars/Venus differences in the definition of sanity in a relationship, based on his interest in you, are you sure you are generally sane? (at least when compared to other women? :wink: )


An invaluable skill, yes?


Well…I was sane when I began going out with him a year and one/half ago…don’t know now. Yes, my man has had a history of choosing women who ultimately turned against him in a vicious manner…hmmmmmmmmm…he has never admitted to having any role in the disintigration of his marriages. Perhaps it is God’s blessing that the process is taking so long. We began in April of 2006…and our petition has just been declared “affirmative” by the first tribunal…now for me the petition will go to a second tribunal (a period of about 3 months.) Since his first ex-wife has chosen to appeal to Rome, that will take about another year we are told…if there is a negative decision from Rome, then he can appeal that decision…since he would then have one affirmative and one negative…a process which would take another 2-3 years! I talked to the priest at the Tribunal today and he said they had VERY FEW appeals to Rome, but his experience was that about half of them were “turned down…or decided in the negative.” I am beginning to think this is what hell must be like. Thanks for your responses and good luck/God speed with your process…which Archdiocese are you using and how long do they tell you the process will take? My friend in San Antonio said hers took 3 months!!! And a relative of my fiancee had his annulment within 6 months also through San Antonio! Sigh…:frowning:


dulcissima: Yes, the Teflon imitation has been invaluable, especially when getting to know the folks over at CPS. My ex and her “supporters” filed a total of 5 complaints there from when she left Sept 2005 (4 days after I insisted she needed to get different/better mental help) until Aug 2006 (the day the civil divorce finalized).

annweiss: Galveston-Houston is where I live, which recently spun off from the San Antonio archdiocese and still shares the same canonical appellate court. I was told up to a year. I filed the petition in December, was held for a few weeks by one of my 8 witnesses who was slow to get her response mailed in, but she said it was on the way over a week ago. I did include the psych evaluation for my ex that was ordered by the civil court, so I’m hoping the tribunal doesn’t ask for another one beyond input from the priest we saw for marriage counseling and a differnt PhD my ex found shortly before the civil process finalized that I agreed to see to see first as a post-divorce attempt at reconciling and then just to work on co-parenting issues when she wasn’t willing to come to the table with changes of her own on relationship issues.


Yes, Galveston-Houston is my Archdiocese, as well. Father Wahl and Donna Grupa are wonderful, warm people and did their best to make the experience less demoralizing, but Fr. Lawrence Jozwiak…well…what can I say? I guess I had better not say anything in a public forum, but I think the head of a tribunal should be compassionate at the very least…not what I experienced. I do understand that he has a very difficult job, but a difficult job can be handled with sensitivity and caring…again, not what I found. When you go through this experience you have to bare your soul and every one of your past mistakes…in great detail…and then have them judged and elaborated on…enough already…my advice would be: 1) Be very specific about your allegations regarding state of mind, etc. on the wedding day, 2) Be sure your witnesses are specific, citing particular instances, 3) Produce any documents from counselors, priests, etc. that you have…particularly people who knew you before you married and who are still in your life. Enough already…it is sufficient to say, it was very difficult for us to find any information and the process was slowed somewhat because we had to dig for information ourselves. This was also the experience of three other couples in our RCIA class…in fact, one of the couples just gave up!

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