What is an "Annulment"?
An annulment (also known as a "Declaration of Marital Nullity") is a ruling by an ecclesiastical court called the Tribunal that a particular marriage was null from the beginning – that is to say that there was something gravely wrong at the time that the wedding vows (the consent of the spouses) were made which prevented a valid sacramental marriage from coming into existence.
Why Does Getting a Declaration of Marital Nullity Matter?
Jesus Christ teaches us that if a man and a woman who are married divorce each other and then remarry, they are committing the grave sin of adultery. He teaches us in The Holy Bible:
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11-12).
Because Jesus clearly presents this in His own words, the Catholic Church cannot simply grant permission for divorced persons to marry again. If the Church were to do so, it would be giving them permission to commit the sin of adultery.
For this reason, if a person who is divorced wishes to seek marriage with another spouse, the Church has the responsibility to examine the prior marriage to determine whether or not that marriage was valid.
If the marriage is ruled to be valid, the divorced person(s) is still sacramentally bound to his or her previous spouse and is not free to marry another person.
If it is ruled to be invalid, then the persons in the prior marriage are not bound to each other and so, unless there are any restrictions or other impediments that prevent it, the persons are considered free to marry.
How Does the Process Work?
Essentially, the process
What is the First Step?