We welcome you to our site and hope you find it beneficial. We have included information for both those with general questions about the process, as well as information for those who have more specific questions to be answered. The site has been designed to help you understand the Role of a Tribunal, in particular for marriage cases. If you cannot find the information you seek at this site, please call your local parish to speak with a priest, deacon, or case sponsor.
With regard to the term “Annulment”
We understand it is a commonly used term for the marriage process; however, the preferred terminology is to request a “decree of invalidity”. An annulment is a declaration by a Church Tribunal (a Catholic Church court) that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union.
If a marriage is declared null, does it mean that the marriage never existed?
No. It means it was not valid according to Church law. A declaration of nullity does not deny that a relationship existed. It simply states that the relationship was missing one or more elements that the Catholic Church requires for marriage.