What my decree of nullity says about children


First, please help me offer prayers of thanksgiving for the end of this long process! I recieved my final decree of nullity today, about 15 months after I submitted my petition.

Secondly, because it’s always amazing how much misinformation and misunderstanding there is out there about annulments (especially how they affect the status of children), I want to post this paragraph from the letter that came along with the decree:

“This decree is for spiritual and ecclesiastical purposes only and has no effect whatsoever upon civil law. Any children born of this civilly recognized marriage remain as they have been - the legitimate and fruitful offspring of that union.”

I don’t have kids, but it always pains me to hear of parents who believe the Church has declared their kids illegitimate. I even have an adult friend who still believes, decades after her own parents’ divorce and annulment, that her father’s church calls her a ‘bastard’. :frowning:


Congratulations on your decree of nullity!


Congratulations on that. I know it must be quite a relief. Thanks for posting exactly what it say about the children. My ex has told my children repeatedly that I plan on making them bastards. I might just show my 16 yo daughter your post.


I’d be glad to send you the whole letter and the signed & sealed decree if you like! PM me anytime. And there are some good annulment FAQs on some diocesan websites out there.


I’m sorry your ex is so cruel and uncaring towards his own children. What an idiot to tell them something like that.


Note that the status of the children derives from Canon Law

Can. 1137 The children conceived or born of a valid or putative marriage are legitimate.

A putative marriage is one which at least one party believed to be valid at the time it was contracted.


:thumbsup: Yep, but as many folks as you can find who don’t know that, it bears repeating.


Thanks. Actually, I did read her the quote, and I don’t think she needs to see the letter. That was a really sweet offer though.


Unfortunately it doesn’t bother him to hurt the children, as long as it will upset me in the process. Which is why I try to stay as distant from him as possible. The older two have had it with him and don’t see him anymore. The younger two are still legally required to, but he is starting in on them now, so chances are I am going to have to use my income tax return to bring this issue to court.

Sorry to get off topic here, cecilia97. I think you are right to point this out. Too many of the children in the circumstances are hurting based on bad information.


Well as a variation from the old saying, most have problems with the Church that they may think it is, or want to believe it is, but only a few have problems with the Church as it actually is.


I didn’t know that the Church considered some children “legitimate” and other “illegitimate.”

I find that sort of talk offensive because it suggests the child is the criminal if her parents made wrong choices (reminds me of a popular pro-abortion argument). I think talk of legitimacy only serve to de-humanize and marginalize people. :mad:

I don’t understand how a child can be illegitimate. It’s the parents’ decisions (right or wrong) that must be judged. What purpose does it serve for the Church to make that distinction between children?

Someone please clarify this for me.


There is one canon that defines legitimacy the next one says:

Can. 1140 As regards canonical effects, legitimated children are equal in all things to legitimate ones unless the law has expressly provided otherwise.

It seems that there are certain things in the Church that are affected by legitimacy. I know that historically, ‘illegitimate’ men (even if adopted) were not normally eligible for the priesthood. I’ve been told that the bishop could dispense that rule but certainly it has kept men out.


congrats!!! My ex’s lawyer went on and on about me bastardizing my children… thankfully my lawyer was Catholic and shut him up…Personally I think it is a control tactic used by some to detract us from a decree of nullity.


Congarts, Cecilia, and yes, people are dense on this one. It irks me no end, so it thrills me that you repeat it.


Congratulations to you!!! I will offer a prayer of Thanksgiving for you! :slight_smile:


Hi Cecilia,

Congratulations on getting the decree of nullity. It must feel like a weight off your shoulders, and you must be feeling some lightness at the end of this long road you never expected to find yourself on.


I tried explaining this to my step-mom, a cradle Catholic who refused to get an annulment and has since left the Church. She said she just couldn’t “do that” to her children. I tried explaining this to her, but she will not hear it. You can’t do anything with people to whom you tell the truth, but who refuse to accept it.

Thank you for posting, and I hope LOTS of people read this.


Outstanding thread! This needs to be given the biggest sticky of all stickies!!! :smiley:

Congratulations to you - I know exactly how you feel. :wink:



Congrats on the decree and thanks for posting!


Often times the reason people don’t do things or do things] is not the one they give. [They are not happy to have you destroy a good excuse. ;)]

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