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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 before dating.

07/14/2012 new

I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I am working as a successful professional, getting a masters' degree, and my son is doing really well. He was finally baptized at age 4 after my ex-husband left. I finished my conversion process. In so many ways, life is better.

However, the annulment paperwork has been so rough emotionally. It is the "long form" for our diocese, and it is just absolutely making me cry to fill it out. I never thought I would write "I don't know" so many times. I know I must know one way or the other whether the marriage is valid, but I get so many conflicting messages about what's expected of me that I sometimes just put the folder away and don't work on it for a few days. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

07/14/2012 new

hug That's exactly how I got my paperwork done Katherine. I'd work on it, start to feel yucky inside, then put it away. Sometimes, I didn't return to it for months. Some people can fly through it, some need to take it slower. Neither is better, or worse. I think the important thing is to be able to fully work through the process, at whatever speed. And for me, I attended a CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) weekend in the middle of filling it out, which helped me. I think God knew I needed to be a part of other things while completing the paperwork, in order for me to truly answer all the information with depth and clarity.

07/14/2012 new

(Quote) Katherine-868943 said: I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I ...
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said:

I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I am working as a successful professional, getting a masters' degree, and my son is doing really well. He was finally baptized at age 4 after my ex-husband left. I finished my conversion process. In so many ways, life is better.

However, the annulment paperwork has been so rough emotionally. It is the "long form" for our diocese, and it is just absolutely making me cry to fill it out. I never thought I would write "I don't know" so many times. I know I must know one way or the other whether the marriage is valid, but I get so many conflicting messages about what's expected of me that I sometimes just put the folder away and don't work on it for a few days. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

--hide--


Katherine,

First, welcome to the forums and an even bigger welcome to a fellow Texan. Carthage,Texas– the home of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Being in far East Texas, you almost could have one foot in Texas and the other in Louisiana. laughing laughing

Regarding your topic – the annulment issue comes up quite frequently. You are not alone as many have gone through and are currently undergoing the process. Having gone through the process myself, it is difficult to look back and recount the not so pleasant moments from your marriage and for some, bringing their lives-up-to-date. I also had to complete the formal petition. I worked on the form almost two weeks spending several hours per day.

My original petition was denied as I did not have the witnesses to support my petition. Only two would respond and they did everything but answer the questions. I refused to allow the initial denial to defeat my cause. After the initial denial, I met with the second ranking member of the local Tribunal. The priest mentioned it is difficult if not almost impossible to receive an approval with just the petitioner’s responses. My former spouse also would not respond. So, what seemed like two hours of going back and forth, he mentioned about a little known approach that would not guarantee an approval but my petition would be reviewed by a psychologist. The Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston allowed me to submit to that person reasons why I felt the Tribunal’s decision was in error. Long story short – I must have made some type of impression as six weeks later I received an approval. Then, that second decision along with the initial one was sent to the Regional Tribunal in San Antonio. I received an approval from both Tribunals about seven months later. For me, it was an eighteen month process.

The reason I share my personal case is to not get discouraged, take your time in completing the form, and answer everything openly and honestly and to the best of your recollection and pray, pray and pray. The whole process is not about who was right and who was wrong. I would caution about entering too many “I don’t knows” in your petition. If you are unsure about a particular question and how to respond, contact your case sponsor. If he/she does not seem to know the score, find another one at a different parish. Others on CM will also offer advice.

Lisa from CM has a blog and has some very good and practical information. If you get down and out and are about ready to “throw in the towel”, write Lisa and she will give you some great advice. You will also have a chance to meet others on this site either through the forums, emotes or messages that will offer support.

Katherine, you can believe me when I say that once you send in your petition and if you receive an approval, you will feel much lifted from your shoulders. Many of us wish to marry again in the Catholic Church. Other than if your former spouse dies, this is the only way to do it. Just goes to show you how important our church feels about the Sacrament of Matrimony.

As far as dating while awaiting an annulment – others will state it is fine as long as you don’t become romantically involved and then others will state you should not date – period. I asked a priest about this and he threw back a question to me. He asked, do you believe you are still married in the eyes of the church? I stated yes. He then stated since I believe that how could I meet a woman to go to the movies, dinner, museum, the beach, etc.? Would I do that if my former spouse and I were still together? Of course my obvious answer was no. From the point on, I never did date as it made logical sense to me. However, for those who date while awaiting a decision on their annulment, I do not pass judgment. There is one far greater than I who will pass judgment one day and that is God.

Your stay on CM will be as successful as the effort you put forth. You have taken a major step in initiating a thread. Post in others which interest you. By posting, entering the chat rooms at night, emoting and messaging, people will come to know, love and trust you.

You are a young and beautiful lady. God willing you will have many more productive years in your life.

Coming from a fellow Texan, I wish you well in your journey.

Blessings, Praying hug rose

Leon

07/15/2012 new
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said: I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I am working a...
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said:

I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I am working as a successful professional, getting a masters' degree, and my son is doing really well. He was finally baptized at age 4 after my ex-husband left. I finished my conversion process. In so many ways, life is better.

However, the annulment paperwork has been so rough emotionally. It is the "long form" for our diocese, and it is just absolutely making me cry to fill it out. I never thought I would write "I don't know" so many times. I know I must know one way or the other whether the marriage is valid, but I get so many conflicting messages about what's expected of me that I sometimes just put the folder away and don't work on it for a few days. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

--hide--


Katherine,

I find it very hopeful that you have a supporting family. My witnesses were my immediate family and so they were always available if the Tribunal needed more information other than the Questionnaires.

You have this strength on your side with no worries about lack of witnesses.

It is very important to communicate openly with the Tribunal in your petition information and through out the process when they may contact you to elaborate on your statements.

I had over 20 pages myself. Write out your responses on a Word document; title each section and type out each question exactly like the Petition so the Tribunal can follow your comments. You can fill out the original personal information page; list of witnesses and their contact information, and include the signature page (yours and your parish priest). When you do this, then you may edit as needed. Keep a duplicate set of everything you turn in; including the Annulment petition and questionnaires; divorce papers; marriage and baptismal certificates...just in case something gets lost from your Tribunal file during the process.

Please don't write "I don't know." Tell what you do know, no matter how limited. The Tribunal takes all the pieces, little and big, and puts it together to see the big picture.

Write logically but write from the heart. Let the Tribunal "see" who you are. Flip the questions around and this will make it easier to answer. For example, if there is a question like "What kind of childhood did your husband have...?" The answer could start off as "(ex husband's first name) parents had an unhappy marriage and because of the turmoil, he moved out of the home before he was 18 years old and went to live with his grandparents ...etc."

It is OK to repeat statements.

You will not be judged on your style as in a college paper. I got writer's block because I was worried that I sounded too critical or revealed too much personal, hurtful experiences to strangers that would be reading my "story."

There is no wrong answer - except no answer or an incomplete statement that doesn't fully show the readers what has gone on in the past.

You will be assigned an Advocate. Talk to him. I am not sure, but all Advocates may be priests ...mine was. I asked for his email address too. When he asked me to provide extra information, I did it right away and then emailed to make sure that he received the documents or statements.

I am including a link that I found. Father David O'Conner is a Defender of the Bond for the Archdiocese of Washington. This is a very good "Question and Answer" article on Annulments. Read this part to understand the range of information that you can write about to help the Tribunal: "Are there other things that affect the validity of marriage consent?"

site.adw.org

Katherine - just write what happened; always tell the truth and this includes providing all the facts and

details no matter how embarrassing or awful it feels to put this in print. Don't be brief - just write sentences that are understandable. The Tribunal members are intelligent and compassionate. Your personal information is safe.

Please message me if I can help and support you through the writing process in any way hug
07/15/2012 new
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said: I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I am working a...
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said:

I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I am working as a successful professional, getting a masters' degree, and my son is doing really well. He was finally baptized at age 4 after my ex-husband left. I finished my conversion process. In so many ways, life is better.

However, the annulment paperwork has been so rough emotionally. It is the "long form" for our diocese, and it is just absolutely making me cry to fill it out. I never thought I would write "I don't know" so many times. I know I must know one way or the other whether the marriage is valid, but I get so many conflicting messages about what's expected of me that I sometimes just put the folder away and don't work on it for a few days. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

--hide--


For me filling out the annulment papers was a long process, but it was a long process because I allowed it to be. I took my time being very honest in what I said and it was a time of prayer, reflection and healing. Hope this helps....I felt like I received my answer when I received my annulment on my birthday in Oct 1998 biggrin angel
07/15/2012 new
(Quote) Brenda-74660 said: For me filling out the annulment papers was a long process, but it was a long process because I allowed it...
(Quote) Brenda-74660 said:

For me filling out the annulment papers was a long process, but it was a long process because I allowed it to be. I took my time being very honest in what I said and it was a time of prayer, reflection and healing. Hope this helps....I felt like I received my answer when I received my annulment on my birthday in Oct 1998
--hide--


It did help that a tribunal lawyer offered a one day workshop where he answered our questions on the process.

The way he described is that sacramental marriage is like baking an apple pie. If you substitute salt for sugar in your apple filling the pie will still bake, it looks like apple pie all nice and golden brown on the outside, but when you taste it you know that there is something terribly wrong with your pie.

It has been a long time since I went to the retreat so I don't remember what all else he said thatbhelped me know which details were important to share ith the tribunal but I bet you could check with your parish Priest to see if there is help available in your area. Good luck and God Bless
07/15/2012 new

Hi Katherine,

Take your time on your answers to your quesitons on your form. The more information you can give, the better the Tribunal can understand the situation. It took me a long time to complete my questionnaire. I was lucky enough to know someone who was on the Tribunal for a nearby diocese. She graciously read through my paperwork and gave me suggestions on where I should expand my answers. One of the things she was very adamant about was that I should never just give a "yes" or "no" answer to any of the questions. She said to always give some explanation to the best of my knowledge.

Good luck as you go through this process. I'll keep you in my prayers. Praying Praying hug

07/16/2012 new

(Quote) Clara-410815 said: Hi Katherine, Take your time on your answers to your quesitons on your form. The more info...
(Quote) Clara-410815 said:

Hi Katherine,

Take your time on your answers to your quesitons on your form. The more information you can give, the better the Tribunal can understand the situation. It took me a long time to complete my questionnaire. I was lucky enough to know someone who was on the Tribunal for a nearby diocese. She graciously read through my paperwork and gave me suggestions on where I should expand my answers. One of the things she was very adamant about was that I should never just give a "yes" or "no" answer to any of the questions. She said to always give some explanation to the best of my knowledge.

Good luck as you go through this process. I'll keep you in my prayers.

--hide--



Clara is correct. I went through the process with the long form as well and it was very emotionally draining! It took a very long time because I had to go back and expand and explain over and over again. I felt like I was being redundant...but it was necessary. After many weeks, I finally completed it and I felt very relieved. It does help to cleanse your heart after the pain. I pray that God guides you through this journey as it is very taxing. God Bless!!

07/16/2012 new

Thanks to everyone who answered me so far. I just get so nervous about this; the paperwork has mostly been making me upset because it points out further and further that going through with the marriage was not a good idea. I did it because I thought I had to, without getting into too much detail. The good thing is that this has made me far more active in youth education; I want young men and women to understand what sacraments are, and to understand that marrying outside your faith is something which must be very carefully considered for all religions. It's also made me wonder how many people have fallen away from the church because they truly don't understand the teachings. I literally snuck in the back door of my local church for years and left before the final hymn with my son because I didn't think I could come in, but I wanted him to have the chance to grow in faith.

07/19/2012 new

(Quote) Katherine-868943 said: I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I ...
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said:

I am currently working on my annulment paperwork. My family has been such a support to me. I am working as a successful professional, getting a masters' degree, and my son is doing really well. He was finally baptized at age 4 after my ex-husband left. I finished my conversion process. In so many ways, life is better.

However, the annulment paperwork has been so rough emotionally. It is the "long form" for our diocese, and it is just absolutely making me cry to fill it out. I never thought I would write "I don't know" so many times. I know I must know one way or the other whether the marriage is valid, but I get so many conflicting messages about what's expected of me that I sometimes just put the folder away and don't work on it for a few days. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

--hide--


Yes, the paperwork can be emotionally draining. It wrings ya out to have to give the tribunal what they need to grant the annulment because they have to know the details of some very painful things.
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When I first started filling out the paperwork there wasn't much emotion at all about it because my divorce was final eight years ago. So I had plenty of emotional distance from my marriage and my divorce. It wasn't real hard to fill out the paperwork because I was detached. I had to send away for some of the required documents so I filled out the paperwork while waiting for those to arrive. Then I emailed my answers to my advocate, John in a Word document and was looking forward to getting together with him the next week to make copies of my answers to the questionaire and the other documents and mail it all in. It had taken a few months to get to that point. Well, it didn't happen that way.
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John sent me an email telling me that I had to expand on two of my answers, in areas that were key to what the tribunal required in order to grant the annulment. This is the point where the emotions really started kicking in for me. I was so disappointed that we couldn't just mail it all in and felt heavy with dread.. having to dig into those painful areas. I didn't tell many people about this delay because I didn't want to deal with what I had to deal with...much less talk about it. I wasn't able to get right on that and put it away for a little while, just needed some time before I had to wrestle that bear. The day came when John emailed me, after resubmitting the answers, and it was a joyous moment to read what he'd written...'Good Job!' We got together and made copies of everything and he had me help with the final steps by having me stamp the seal on all of the pages of the questionaire and he had me close the envelope that all of the paperwork was in for the tribunal.
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Afterwards, I told a friend of mine that your blood, sweat and tears are required before your answers are satisfactory. If you don't give thorough answers to the questions, you will have to answer them again. That was the most difficult part for me, to have my questionaire returned after I thought that we were done with that aspect of the process. If I had any advice for you it would be to try to avoid that. Hang in there Katherine. There is an end in sight.


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