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Marriage Tribunal Office

284 Trafalgar Road
Pembroke, ON
K8A 5A8

Phone: (613) 732-7663
Fax: (613) 732-8216

JUDICIAL VICAR

Rev. G. Ryan Holly J.C.L

ADVOCATE & JUDGE
Rev. Douglas J. Morris

NOTARY
Mrs. Margaret Marcus

 

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Mrs. Diane Mathieu
Mr. Bruce Munro

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Home Marriage Tribunal Decree of Nullity (annulment)
Decree of Nullity (annulment) PDF Print E-mail

The Catholic Church teaches us that marriage is an intimate, exclusive and permanent partnership of a man and a woman which exists for the good of the spouses and the procreation of children.  The Catholic Church cannot ignore the reality of separation and divorce in our society.  The Church must reach out to those who are struggling with the pain of a broken marriage.

WHAT IS A DECREE OF NULLITY?

A Decree of Nullity, also called an Annulment, is a declaration issued by the Catholic Church, through its Marriage Tribunal, that a given marriage is invalid (not binding) because some essential element of marriage was lacking at the time of the exchange of consent.

Annulments are not Catholic divorces. A Catholic Decree of Nullity states that, in the eyes of the Church, there was never a bond established. Since the Catholic Church recognizes all marriages (of Catholics and of others) with few exceptions, the Church’s nullity process is a way of helping persons come to peace in themselves, and with the community of the Church, after a marriage has broken down.

IF I RECEIVE A DECREE OF NULLITY, DOES THAT MEAN MY CHILDREN ARE ILLEGITIMATE?

Definitely not! The Decree of Nullity does not affect in any manner the legitimacy of children, names, property, maintenance payments, inheritance rights or other matters dealt with in the civil courts.

CAN A DIVORCED CATHOLIC RECEIVE COMMUNION?

Divorced Catholics lose none of their rights in the Church, except the right to enter into a new marriage, until the Church declares them free to marry. All Catholics, divorced Catholics included, are free to receive the sacraments, provided they are not in a state of serious sin (i.e. have not remarried “outside the Church” or are not cohabiting with another partner). If they are in another marital (or cohabiting) union, they are not permitted to receive the sacraments. People in such a situation are encouraged to speak with their pastor.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE?

After submitting a summary of your situation, you will be interviewed, under oath, by a staff member of the Marriage Tribunal. · Your former spouse will be notified by the Marriage Tribunal and interviewed if they choose to be involved. · Witnesses will be interviewed. · Experts may be consulted. · The gathered testimonies will be reviewed by the Defender of the Bond. · Three Judges will now study the Acts and give their decision. · You and your former spouse will be sent notification of this decision. · The case will be sent to the Canadian Appeal Tribunal in Ottawa for a second reading. · You and your former spouse will be notified as soon as the case is returned by the Appeal Tribunal.

HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?

Each case is unique with its own degree of difficulty; therefore, some cases do take longer than others. It is not possible to guarantee a specific length of time because of various factors. Please note that a date for marriage in the Church cannot be set until a Decree of Nullity has actually been granted and confirmed by the Appeal Tribunal in Ottawa.

DOES MY FORMER SPOUSE HAVE TO BE CONTACTED?

Catholic Church law recognizes the right of the former spouse to be involved in the process. He/She may make a statement regarding the marriage and has the right to introduce any witnesses he/she chooses. The Tribunal will contact the former spouse. You will not be required to have any direct contact with your former spouse.

WHAT ABOUT REMARRIAGE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

If the marriage in question is declared invalid and there are no restrictions concerning a new marriage, the usual procedure of preparation for marriage in the Catholic Church may be started with the priest of your parish or the parish of the Catholic person you intend to marry.

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

Contact either your parish priest or the Marriage Tribunal  to arrange a preliminary interview, during which a member of the Tribunal staff will explain the process and go over the preliminary forms with you. When you have completed and returned the forms, an appointment for a formal interview will be made. This is when the case is officially begun. For more information, call and ask to speak to a member of the Marriage Tribunal staff.

IS THERE A COST TO PROCESS A DECREE?

The ability to make a contribution to the Tribunal has no bearing on the issuance of a Decree of Nullity. However, the costs involved in processing each case are considerable. The Diocese of Pembroke suggests that the Petitioner contribute a minimum of one-third toward the costs incurred. Financial considerations will be discussed individually with the Petitioner at his/her interview.

WHEN SHOULD I CALL?

Please contact us if you have new evidence to support your case or if you have names of additional witnesses. Let us know if you have a change of address and/or phone number.

THE CHURCH AS HEALER AND RECONCILER

Christ the Lord calls upon the Church to be a community of healing and reconciliation. The legal proceedings of the Church's Tribunals are based on the principle that our faith community cares about those who suffer from broken marriages. It is our hope that this information will have addressed some of your questions and concerns about marriage, decrees of nullity and the role of the Marriage Tribunal. Anyone wishing to apply for a Decree of Nullity, or wishing to inquire about their own marriage situation, is invited to speak with their parish priest or call the Marriage Tribunal.

PRAYER FOR A BROKEN MARRIAGE

Loving and eternal God, your Son Jesus Christ blessed the marriage at Cana of Galilee with His presence, miraculously turning water into wine. In your mercy, bring healing to the wounds, suffering and pain of those couples experiencing broken marriage. May your guiding hand rest upon all those who harbour hatred, resentment and bitterness. Grace their hearts with a readiness to ask forgiveness as well as to forgive. Surround them with your life-giving love. Restore their sense of confidence, faith and trust and enable them once more to love others without fear. Heavenly Father, we pray for all people whose lives have been scarred by family break-up because of separation or divorce. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus, the Lord. Amen.

 

 

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