How do I obtain an annulment in the Catholic Church?

January 23, 2012

Ending a marriage in divorce can often be traumatic and painful, including for Catholics. The church believes that marriage is a sacramental covenant between a man and a woman, establishing a lifelong, monogamous partnership with the intention of having children and supporting one another.

If those things, amongst other factors, are present during the wedding, the marriage is unbreakable because it is established by God, according to the church.

The Catholic Church is quick to point that an annulment is not a Catholic divorce, but a statement that the sacrament was not present at the start of the marriage. A church tribunal, likely through local dioceses, will decide if that’s the case. An annulment can be brief or take a number of months depending on the circumstances and cost from $75 to $500 in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, for instance.

The Catholic Church believes annulment can bring about healing and if you or someone you love seeks an annulment, contact a parish priest, who will help you determine what kind of annulment case you have. Contact the diocese you live in or visit its website to begin the process of filling out forms for the annulment. Just know that the tribunals that analyze the case can take time deliberating.

Have patience and strength during this process, as it can help bring you full participation in the church should you decide to remarry.