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This room is for supportive and informative discussion about divorce and/or the annulment process. All posters must have been previously divorced or annulled.

Saint Eugene De Mazenod is patron of dysfunctional families & Saint Fabiola obtained a divorce from her first husband prior to devoting her life to charitable works.
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Annulment process

May 15 new

I'm about to lay my head on the chopping block here for everyone to take a swipe, but here goes. I am trying to wrap my head around the annulment process. I had a civil divorce in 1984. My husband was a liar, a cheat and a thief and ultimately left me for one of his women (who he said is just like me). He tried to keep his foot in the door with me for a long time, until I finally moved somewhere where he couldn't find me. He told me that he was going to get an annulment just to hurt me because he knew how important the Church is to me. The reason he didn't pursue it was because it costs money and he didn't want to pay for it. I didn't bother getting one because at the time I didn't think I would ever marry again.

When I was with my last boyfriend I went to my parish priest for the interview to get the papers to start the annulment because it looked like we were heading for marriage at some point and I wanted to marry in the Church. The questions bothered me intensely because they were so very personal. I consider my marriage valid, we had one child, and I was in it for keeps. My husband was the one who made a mockery of marriage with his cheating and lying and drinking and stealing and everything else he pulled. I really struggled with these questions because they don't go to a bishop or priest or the pope -- it's lay people who read these and the deeply personal questions are between my husband and myself. Right or wrong, I feel strongly about this.

The relationship I had hoped to end in marriage just ended, so I haven't thought about an annulment in ten years. But now that I'm sticking my toes back in the water, I am once again thinking about it. Wouldn't it be enough to state that my husband was a liar, a thief and a cheat, he left me for another woman - I wasn't the one who wanted the divorce, as opposed to delving into such personal information that is no one's business? I feel like I would be writing a trashy novel (except that it would all be true).

I'm just trying to come to terms with the highly personal revelations that are required in the process. For those of you who have gone through this difficult and emotional process, did you feel relief to get it out? What about the children that were created during the marriage? Our marriage was certainly valid, our son was killed in 1978 at the age of 7 and I was unable to get pregnant again. I kept my vows to my husband. I did nothing wrong - except perhaps to get angry at him for cheating - but I do think that anger is certainly justified by his actions.

Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and be done with it once and for all. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, feelings will be welcome. Meantime, I'm going to call my new parish right now and see about getting those papers again.

Praying rosary theheart rose scratchchin ashamed

May 15 new

Shaon, you will find various postings here in the forums regarding annulments, here in this space, but also in various other places. And you will read various viewpoints based on individual experiences.

I would hope that there is a place nearby that you can call on for support in this decision.

For me, it was a positive experience. I had gotten some information beforehand as to what it would entail & that helped. It is a process that requires prayer & reflection. Perhaps you can find a spiritual advisor. Perhaps the person in the Family Life office at your diocese/archdiocese can direct you to a program or a person that could help you walk through this. By all means, your diocesan tribunal office & your advocate should offer the most help in answering your questions. Yes, talk to your pastor or deacon. If you need any more help, please message me. I do have some experience in this field.


All my prayers are with you, Sharon. Praying rosary rose theheart

May 15 new

Thank you, Carol. I just got off the phone with my new parish. Father is currently on retreat but I spoke with his secretary and left him a message that I want to start the process. He is wonderful and I was instantly comfortable with him when we first met after I moved here. I think it's time. If I'm thinking about it and it's gnawing at me, then it's spirit telling me to go forward with this.

May 15 new

Sharon,

First off...all of your feelings and thoughts are justified. I am in the beginning stage of the process and the questions being asked do seem to be quite personal. The validity of the marriage is what the tribunal...church court...is trying to arrive at. For the annulment process purposes, the grounds that you think should be reasons are more results of something that was amiss at the time of the marriage than actual grounds for an annulment. The 'grounds' that you describe are symptoms rather than causes. The members of the tribunal are trained to look for the basis of the problem(s) rather than the result(s). The results are, or can be, grounds for legal divorce...which an annulment is not.


When I first approached my pastor he used what he called a weak illustration to describe what is happening in an annulment. He likened a marriage/annulment to a pregnancy/miscarriage. There was a pregnancy and there was a baby. However, something in the DNA of the pregnancy wasn't right and the pregnancy ended. With an annulment the tribunal is trying to get at what was not right at the time of the marriage that contributed to the demise of the marriage. In order to do this they must examine the "marriage DNA" and, therefore, they have to ask as many questions as possible.

What about the children that were created by the marriage? They are legitimate if that's what you're asking. The marriage was legal, therefore, the kids are legitimate.

Do call your new parish right now and get this show on the road!! They will certainly be able to answer many of your questions and ease your mind.

God bless.

May 15 new

Thank you, Sheila. I remember my husband-to-be while waiting for the judge to show up for the marriage. He was bouncing my wedding ring on the floor and saying "here come da judge, here come da judge" and giggling like a hyena. Immature, to say the least. I told him we should just leave and he said no. The judge had to start the ceremony three times because my husband kept laughing like a hyena. The judge said to me "good luck". If immaturity is a good reason, it's there. Oh, they want a story -- they've got one. I'm willing to bet they haven't heard the likes of this before.

What gets me is that all would have been well except that my husband decided to become a Catholic in one of his drunken states and the parish priest said to me that we were not married in the eyes of the Church and Father insisted we be married in the Church. Given what I was experiencing in an alcoholic, immature marriage, I knew in my heart that I did not want to go through with making this step, and I told my husband I didn't want to have the Church marriage. He blew up, as was his manner when he didn't get his way. I held my ground, and he held his, and Father told me I was in a state of mortal sin -- so against my better judgment we had the Church marriage. Our four year son was in attendance, climbing around the altar. It all felt so wrong -- not the baby, but the marriage. It was a joke to him. I should have run like the dickens the day I met him on the beach.

If Father had looked more closely and seen my husband for what he was, he would not have insisted -- surely he should not have insisted on marriage in the Church. Not this guy. Father is not to blame - but that one ceremony cemented me to hell for all eternity.

And what if, after reading this soap opera of an existence, interspersed with violence, the Tribunal says it was a valid marriage and doesn't grant me an annulment? What then? It was valid at the time -- it's just all so confusing to me to have to go through this.

Stirring up old memories is going to be a chore -- I had hoped to put all of this behind me and forget about him. Perhaps it will be cathartic.

Lord, give me strength to go through this ordeal. Praying theheart rosary



May 15 new

Sharon, it is cathartic for sure!! Put EVERYTHING you remember down on paper and once it's out of your head and onto the paper....let it stay on the paper and out of your head!!! The more you put down the more the tribunal has to work with. I referred to my answers as my "Annulment Dissertation"!! Oh, and did I say....let it stay on the paper and out of your head?!!

Isn't it a crying shame what so many teachers and priests filled our heads with?? And because they were teachers and priests we believed everything they said hook, line and sinker!! Did the future husband get the same pressures?? Probably not sad

Again...once it's all on paper let it stay on the paper and out of your head!!! Then get out your biggest and best smile, jump start your sense of humor and laugh like crazy at your former self!! And above all...don't go thinking negatively, it'll give you wrinkles wink

Good luck, Sharon!

May 15 new

Sharon, the majority of the answers you give will be about what happened BEFORE the marriage. Have you begun thinking of your witnesses? They will help your case. I think many of the details you shared here will work in your favor. Your advocate from the tribunal will help you.


I'm so sorry to hear that the priest insisted on getting married in the church to make it valid. Yes, had he truly known your former spouse, he might not have been so quick to push. I have heard so many stories of people who had been pushed by parents/relatives into marriages that they didn't want & it ended so badly. This should not happen, but it does, unfortunately.

As Sheila said, put every detail down and then leave it up to the Holy Spirit Dove & His grace to get you through this. Remember, God is a just God! theheart If nothing else, start praying a novena to St. Jude.

May 15 new

Sharon, I felt the annulment process was helpful to me. I was able to take a step back and see the whole picture, especially the behaviors prior to the marriage that made it null. The annulment process was a lot of work, but well worth it. I pray you will also find healing through your process.

May 26 new
Sharon,
i knew my legal marriage was not good for a million reasons. We had been legally married 4 years before we got married in the Church. After 3 miscarriages, I felt like I was being punished for not being married in the Catholic Church. When I became pregnant a 4th time, I wanted to do everything possible to 'insure' I wouldn't lose the baby. Furthermore, the priest said that we had to be married in the Church in order to have the baby baptized in the Church. We were sent on a Marriage Encounter weekend to prepare for our Catholic marriage. It was a disaster weekend to say the least. We left by 10 am on Sunday morning. Knowing that we would never have a truly sacramental marriage was worse than lying to the priest saying we had a great weekend. I was terrified of having that pregnancy ended for punishment. (Remember, I was young, and immature). We ended up getting married in the Church. Baby was born and life went on. His drug use, affairs, etc continued. How could I tell my family that I wanted out? No one in our large Catholic family had ever been divorced. So silently I suffered. That was the cross I was to bear. He eventually left and never returned. Ten years later I decided that I wanted an annulment. I was not even dating. But I wanted full closure to the past. It was a wonderful, painful, healing experience dealing with old hurts and feelings. I had a wonderful Redemptorist priest who worked with me all the way through it. Eight months later, knowing that the tribunal had sent out questionnaires to friends and family, I heard back that it was being sent for a second review by another tribunal. Eventually, I had annulment in hand. Well worth the work and wait!!!
Get started sister! And if you need support, count on me!
May 26 new
(quote) Sharon-971976 said: I'm about to lay my head on the chopping block here for everyone to take a swipe, but here goes. I am trying to wrap my head around the annulment process. I had a civil divorce in 1984. My husband was a liar, a cheat and a thief and ultimately left me for one of his women (who he said is just like me). He tried to keep his foot in the door with me for a long time, until I finally moved somewhere where he couldn't find me. He told me that he was going to get an annulment just to hurt me because he knew how important the Church is to me. The reason he didn't pursue it was because it costs money and he didn't want to pay for it. I didn't bother getting one because at the time I didn't think I would ever marry again.

When I was with my last boyfriend I went to my parish priest for the interview to get the papers to start the annulment because it looked like we were heading for marriage at some point and I wanted to marry in the Church. The questions bothered me intensely because they were so very personal. I consider my marriage valid, we had one child, and I was in it for keeps. My husband was the one who made a mockery of marriage with his cheating and lying and drinking and stealing and everything else he pulled. I really struggled with these questions because they don't go to a bishop or priest or the pope -- it's lay people who read these and the deeply personal questions are between my husband and myself. Right or wrong, I feel strongly about this.

The relationship I had hoped to end in marriage just ended, so I haven't thought about an annulment in ten years. But now that I'm sticking my toes back in the water, I am once again thinking about it. Wouldn't it be enough to state that my husband was a liar, a thief and a cheat, he left me for another woman - I wasn't the one who wanted the divorce, as opposed to delving into such personal information that is no one's business? I feel like I would be writing a trashy novel (except that it would all be true).

I'm just trying to come to terms with the highly personal revelations that are required in the process. For those of you who have gone through this difficult and emotional process, did you feel relief to get it out? What about the children that were created during the marriage? Our marriage was certainly valid, our son was killed in 1978 at the age of 7 and I was unable to get pregnant again. I kept my vows to my husband. I did nothing wrong - except perhaps to get angry at him for cheating - but I do think that anger is certainly justified by his actions.

Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and be done with it once and for all. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, feelings will be welcome. Meantime, I'm going to call my new parish right now and see about getting those papers again.

I found my process to be very healing and a great growing opportunity. But, you can only get out of it what you put into it. There's a lot of misinformation out there so it's good you have the resources on CM with the forum and many who've gone through the process. It'll dig up emotions but I found that after realizing where those "weaknesses" were, I will now have my eyes wide open before even considering a serious relationship. MY ex was similar to yours in many ways and post annulment, my kids are still legitimate and my life is good. :)

Best to you!

Susie
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