Should I write a letter to the Tribunal?


#1

So I'm getting married to a wonderful guy. I can go on and on about him but that's for another thread. I'm currently in the middle of getting my annulment from my first marriage done.

Here's the back story:
I was 19 when I got married (clerks office, not church). In reality, I didn't want to because I wanted to wait a long engagement (wait until I graduated college). But he was very manipulative, stating "if you don't marry me now, I will kill myself" and other stuff. He said that if we do, we'll have the big wedding later on. So I went ahead and did it but he insist that I should continue to stay with my parents and his at his parents. Yeah I know, very stupid on our parts. Hey, I was very naive and vulnerable during that time.

I quickly regretted the decision and wanted to get an annulment or divorce but he kept on threatening me saying if I leave him, he's going to tell my family what we did. Then he got arrested for petty larceny for something that happened at his job. At that moment, I told my family about what happened. But after he got out of jail, he disappeared. I tried to get the address for his family but they won't (his whole family hates me because of my ethnicity). Without an address, I have no way to send my divorce papers to him.

About 4 years later, as I was using a background check on a guy I was dating (hey I needed to be careful), I decided to check if I could find my estranged husband. And I did. Then I set the divorce in motion. I was surprised that I got a response back. The divorce didn't take long because in New York, you can file a no-fault divorce (both agreeing and not settling things like houses, money, or kids). I just wanted to close that chapter in my life.

Not so fast... fast forward 6 years later (aka the present). My boyfriend of 2 years proposes to me. We were talking about where we should have our wedding and suggested his home parish would be great. I started to attend Mass with him and his family and felt at home. But we both knew we can't meet up with the priest until my mistake from 11 years ago was solved. I got to the annulment questionnaire (it's for Lack of Canonical Form) last weekend and filled almost everything out. But when they asked about places we've lived, this is where I'm stuck.

So it goes back to my question... should I write a letter explaining everything I just stated to everyone here? I want to be clear that the farce known as my 1st marriage was never valid. My mom recently said that I should just forget about it and find a JOP to marry us (she converted to a Non-Denominational Christian). It's already tough to endure my family criticizing for returning to Catholicism, but the annulment process takes it a few more notches. All I want is to marry the man I love in the eyes of our family, friends, and most importantly God and his Church. :bighanky:


#2

You just put down what you remember. Leave blank what you don’t know. Maybe include a note at the end about either forgetting or not knowing. That’s all. Good luck, God bless and welcome home.


#3

Bee talk to a priest…he can tell you what the proper process is and where to start. It could be very simple(mine was). Start this marriage off right, follow the way of the church, you won’t regret it. Prayers for you and your husband-to-be.


#4

OK, so it sounds like, from your posts that you didn’t live together as man and wife, or even cohabit, but lived with your parents?
Put that on the form:shrug: And definitely attach a note, or write in the margin to explain that you didn’t live together, and how he manipulated you. Sometimes forms, even job application forms are poorly designed and don’t leave enough space to fill in information that is pertinent. Those dealing with your annulment should be made aware of all the facts of your case regardless the layout of a questionaire.


#5

If I understand correctly, you had been baptized Catholic, but are now coming back to the Church?

If that is, indeed, the case (and it seems so, if the decree of nullity is being sought due to “lack of canonical form”) then the process will be pretty straightforward and far quicker than had you been married in the Church. All the other information would be extraneous.

If, however, the decree was being sought for other reasons and you were considered validly married by the Church (for example, if you had been two non-Catholics marrying) then the information you supplied would be very pertinent and there would be a place to include that information on the questionnaire.

God bless.


#6

Yep exactly! I lived with my parents, he stayed with his parents. I mean, how can anyone have a marriage if you’re not together to build it together? Mind you that I was 19 at the time while he was 28. Not saying that being baptized a Catholic (ex was an atheist, that should’ve been a red flag) will make the annulment easier but it’s still opening up old wounds.

Well I’m going to see the local parish’s priest for RCIA class tonight so I can ask him about it. I’ve also called the Tribunal on Monday if I need to supply witnesses (my family, especially my mother, are my biggest witnesses) and they said I won’t need to.

I just pray this doesn’t take a long time for this, even though I’ve heard this can take a few weeks to decide.

Yes I’m coming back!

Since they asked list of addresses we’ve lived in throughout the marriage, they are going to wonder, if the marriage states it lasted 1 day, why it took nearly 5 years to finally get a divorce. I want to be sure to cover my bases if they asked.

I’ll probably give the questionnaire as it is but if they asked, at least I have a letter ready to hand to them (just the basic “we never lived together” part)


#7

Actually, that’s not the issue. Bee was a baptized Catholic at the time of her first marriage (right, Bee?), and so the only issue was that there was a lack of form.

So, Bee, I’m not quite sure why the “prior addresses” thing was a stumbling block for you. I’m thinking that it’s not an issue at all. In the eyes of the Church, you never attempted a valid marriage, so that’s that. A lack of form case is a simple documentary process; get the form filled out, and you’ll be good to go – it shouldn’t take all that long for them to process it.


#8

I think you are already in contact with the right people who are dealing with this, so don’t panic. Keep the communication lines open with the tribunal and I hope all goes well for you. God Bless.


#9

Although the “lack of form” means this is straightforward, certainly it will take a little bit of time, simply due to the process and the fact that Tribunals are often very busy. You simply have to have some patience.


#10

Yes I was baptized by the Church. May 22, 1983 at Our Lady of Sorrows in Queens. I even know where my name is in the book. I have the original and the updated certificate.

I’m just under some stress over the past once again coming back to the present, even if it’s very cut-and-dry.


#11

The address thing was an issue for Bee, (even if not for the Church per se)because they asked for it, and presumably left no space for Bee to explain her unusual situation. She could hardly put down all the adresses where she lived and be expected to leave out the fact her ‘husband’ wasn’t living with her?


#12

Where the questionnaire asks where you lived together, a simple “we never lived together” will be plenty clear. You could certainly also add that he left the area and it took that long to find him for the divorce.


#13

The earliest we want to get married is October 2013 (the latest would be May 2014) so we’ll take our time. I just can’t wait to start with the RCIA classes tonight.

Wait, I need to get ready. It’s 5pm and it starts at 6:30! :whackadoo:


#14

It will all be behind you very soon. Just look ahead. :slight_smile:


#15

Thanks. Then again, I should look forward to when I come home from RCIA. Today’s my fiance’s birthday and I’ve made him dirt cake! :hug3:


#16

Bee welcome home!! I came home and had to do a lack of form for marrying outside the Church. Once I got all the documents turned in (it was expensive getting all the court copies) it was 3 weeks and done! I got a paper that I keep and if I ever remarry then I’m all set. I can see by what you’re saying you are nervous. I would simply type up what you printed out here and turn that in along with the application and that should answer their questions. I had a Deacon help me with mine, and it went very quickly. I got married in a hall to a Jewish man. Now I’m on my own and I’m still having all sorts of stress, but coming home to the Church has been challenging, frustrating at times, but worth it all. I am so excited for you! Blessings Bee! If you are Catholic can’t you just go to Confession and take Communion again?

Hugs,

Lorrie


#17

I understand the stress that you’re going through, but this really is very simple. My Lack of Form annulment took about 3 weeks. The form was quite simple as well. I’m surprised your form asks so many details, as they aren’t really pertinent to a Lack of Form decree.

Congratulations on both your upcoming marriage and your return to the church.


#18

Thanks! Since I’m not confirmed (family left the Church when I was 8), I can’t.


#19

Thanks. My divorce process took me nearly a month to complete. Considering this is a smaller diocese and the majority of the population in this area are Protestants, I hope it doesn’t take too long. But we’ll see.


#20

I also had a lack of form wedding. We were married by a judge in a courtroom. We were both baptized Catholics.

Fast forward 11 years. We were still married, and had a child. I had returned to the Church and wanted to be married in the eyes of the Church.

We met with the priest a couple of times and submitted the paperwork to the bishop. At that time the priest told me that an annulment would be simple. More of a paperwork shuffle than anything else. And that I needed to be sure that being married was what I really wanted.

It was, so we had a Convalidation a couple of months later. That was almost 10 years ago.

OP, basically, you are doing the paperwork shuffle the priest spoke to me about. It sounds like your annulment will be pretty straight forward. You were a Catholic that didn’t get married in the Church and didn’t have dispensation to get married elsewhere.


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