The Tribunal is a court of Canon Law (Church Law) for the diocese. All matters relating to Church Law are handled by the Tribunal. This includes many types of cases but the most commonly known work is marriage nullity cases.
In its ministry, the Catholic Church provides an opportunity for those affected by divorce to seek the possibility of remarriage. This occurs by thoroughly examining the failed marriage. The method is called the marriage nullity process. Often this is mistakenly referred to as “annulment.”
The marriage nullity process is purely a canonical matter and has no civil effects whatsoever. A Church declaration of nullity does not affect the legitimacy of children, property rights, inheritance rights, visitation rights, names, etc. A declaration of nullity simply states the attempted marriage was never a sacrament.
The Marriage Tribunal DOES NOT charge a fee for any of the cases it processes. The Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) covers the cost of running the Tribunal.
How to apply for marriage nullity:
1. Contact your pastor. If you do not have a regular parish or prefer to work with someone else, contact the Tribunal Office and they will connect you with an advocate, people who are specially trained in marriage nullity cases.
2. At this meeting, you will discuss with your pastor or advocate the details of your previous marriage(s). This is to determine how to best proceed with your case.
3. Complete an application for each of your previous marriage(s).
4. Documents needed (originals are preferred – certified copies are acceptable):
-Baptismal certificate/information for both parties
-Civil marriage license
-Entire copy of the final civil judgement of divorce
5. Current and complete contact information for your former spouse (Required).
6. Certain cases require the completion of the Petitioner’s Questionnaire that covers both parties’ upbringing, the courtship, the engagement, the marriage, and the backgrounds of the individuals. This will be given to you at your meeting with the priest or advocate if necessary.
7. Witnesses and their full contact information – most cases require you to name witnesses. It is best you speak with them before they receive the Witness Questionnaire in the mail. Again, this will be discussed in your meeting.
8. The priest or advocate will present your case(s) to the Tribunal.
- -You MAY NOT set a date for an upcoming wedding until your case is completed. You may begin marriage preparation.
-The Marriage Tribunal is unable to communicate how or when the case will be resolved. If all goes smoothly cases take between twelve and fourteen months to complete.
-No two marriages are alike. Each case will take a different amount of time.
-The Marriage Tribunal DOES NOT charge a fee for any of the cases it processes. The Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) covers the cost of running the Tribunal. Please keep this in mind when making a pledge.