(Quote) Betsy-904124 said:
I am a "cradle" catholic who married a, well, nothing I guess--he was not a member of a...
(Quote) Betsy-904124 said:
I am a "cradle" catholic who married a, well, nothing I guess--he was not a member of any church.
I attended the class my diocese offered on annulments so I have all of the info but due to family health issues, have not been able to follow through.
My question is how important is an annulment? I still don't fully understand how my marriage could be considered null & void but my kids are legitimate...
An annulment is a determination and declaration by the Church (in the sense we are speaking of here), that the marriage was lacking a requirement to have it considered a sacramental marriage. What it ISN'T is a Catholic version of divorce. Those who apply for an annulment are NOT guaranteed the request will be granted. The grounds for an annulment must have existed at or before the time the marriage took place, not what might have happened afterward. It does NOT mean that the marriage wasn't legal in the eyes of civil authority. That's what determines the legitimacy of the children born of that marriage. An annulment does not change that legitimacy.
Once a person applies for an annulment, the marriage tribunal handling the case will request statements from you, and, to the extent necessary, witnesses that can corroborate your statements. They will ask for evidence if needed, and if possible to obtain. They will examine the documentation, and investigate the circumstances pertaining to your particular case. Your former husband could furnish his statements, but if he refuses, he won't be forced to do so.
How important is an annulment? Well, extremely so!!! If the decision is granted in your favor, it will allow you to remarry in the Catholic Church. It will allow you to date, something that is an issue with many people. A lot of people don't want to date a divorced person (whose marriage hasn't been annulled) because of potential and extreme emotional trauma later on if the relationship becomes serious. Until and unless an annulment is granted, you are still considered married in the eyes of the Church. This can affect your ability to date, and lead to obvious complications.
When is the best time to seek an annulment? As soon as possible, because it will be easier to locate witnesses and obtain statements from them. Sooner is better because their memories are "fresher", and more details are recalled. Waiting can create a problem if witnesses' statements are needed, but they cannot be located, or their memories have faded. It could potentially cause a denial of an annulment.
Some people want to wait because of concern about their emotional state. Unpleasant details may have to be brought to the forefront, and might be unsettling. Waiting become precarious for reasons stated above. Nevertheless, people cannot be forced to seek an annulment; the decision is theirs to make.
Hope this helps and that your family health issues are resolved soon -- for their sake and yours. Your own future way of life may depend on it.