No.. The witnesses do not have to be Catholic..The important thing is that they have some awareness of you before you were married.. The very most important thing is to be very honest even if it doesn't show you in a very good light. Also, I have seen people with a good relatonship with the ex hold back because they didn't want to make the ex look bad.. Also, some are afraid of how the ex might react if they participate and choose to read the testimonies. The convalidation date is just part of the whole.. The date of your marriage is the first date they want,
No special dispensation for the 20 year ago marriage. Just the recent one in the Church. I know you can't tell me anything for certain but since he was having an affair when we were married, it seems that I shouldn't have any trouble getting an annulment would I? What do you think?
Well, I'm not a canon lawyer, but it seems if his intent was to continue the affair when you were married in the Church then that goes toward lack of exclusivity. You cannot be "one" with your spouse if your one with other women. I wish you well Julie. Please be sure to sit down with someone in your diocese (maybe your priest or your priest can recommend someone) to go over your situation. There are also a lot of really good books you can find at your Catholic book store or even on Amazon.com. I think the biggest delay in the annulment process is paperwork incomplete or lacking in necessary information. The process will also help you see things in your relationship that you never saw before. It can be very healing, but also very emotional. I hope you find someone that has gone through the process who can "sister" you through it.
Here is an excellent book on annulments written by Dr. Edward Peters, a canon lawyer who teaches at a seminary and is a consultant to the Vatican:
If you click on the image of the book on the Amazon site you can preview some of the content.
Can I use my ex-husband as a witness without affecting his ability to remarry in the Church (he'd be happy if I remarried-he's remarried but not in the Church)? Of course, I will anull anyways but don't know if it will be detriment to him to use him as a witness. He'd be the best witness.
God bless you. You went through a lot.