Susie, thank you for your reply. By the way, I grew up near where you live now, and would be OK with coming back home... :-) I'm a good ole Southeast Texas boy at heart.
Concerning the annulment process... It is very time consuming, yet cleansing, to go through the entire annulment process. In my case it began with meeting my church's annulment coordinator, who provided a 12-page questionnaire/petition for my attention. The petition dealt with all aspects of the marriage: my family background, the ex's family background, finances, intimacy, children/raising children, communication, etc. Going through the questionnaire took considerable effort, because it caused me to focus not only on her contributions to the demise of the marriage, but also mine. And, I don't care who you are, BOTH spouses are responsible for marital success or lack thereof.
They should make all couples considering marriage complete this thing before a priest will allow them to marry. As I've never been married in the Catholic church, maybe they already do. :-)
Witnesses for both parties are also desires for the process to work, and are asked to provide details regarding issues they saw in the marriage. Abuse? Lack of compatibility? Other issues? I believe they may have received the same questionnaire I was given, to help get them started.
The other spouse's input is requested as well. In my case, my ex wife is not Catholic and never has been. She is Protestant (believed not to be practicing) and believes I'm a wack job for converting to Catholicism after the divorce. My ex chose not to take part in the process (as far as I know).
My paperwork was submitted to the Diocese through my annulment coordinator in August of 2011, as I recall, and witnesses submitted theirs at some point around that time. My Diocese sent its decision a couple days before Easter this year, and I received the 2nd decision granting my annulment petition last week.
I had mixed feelings when the initial affirmative decision was received. Joy at the possibility of being permitted to find a lovely Catholic bride and to one day marry in the Church. Sorrow for what could/should have been, with my ex wife and with/for our children. There was little emotional reaction to the second decision, as it affirmed the first court's decision and I'd already dealt with the grief by the time the second decision arrived.
Today, I stand joyful and thankful for our Lord's grace. It seems as though finding someone even at my age (not still a kid, but still prime!), and building a family with children of our own, is so improbable...but here I am...single again and "back in the game" where there is at least hope. I will always lament what could have been, and feel sorry for my ex wife and children for my failures in the first marriage...but have learned a great deal about myself and have addressed those failures the past few years. Now is a time of renewal, focusing on growing in this new (to me) Catholic faith, and prayerfully seeking the joy that comes from finding the lifetime mate God has chosen for me.
Those who choose to pursue the annulment process are in for a long road, but one that will likely reap many rewards that will develop your faith as well as you (as a person) and you (as a potential future spouse.)