The Annulment Process
The Tribunal of the Diocese of Saint Cloud has established a policy that the annulment process will not be started until six months after issuance of the final divorce decree.
No wedding date must be set until an affirmative decision has been rendered.
The annulment process requires the following:
A) The petitioner contacts his/her parish priest or a Tribunal Staff Member in order to petition and begin the annulment procedure.
1) The petitioner needs to present the following documents at the time of the application:
a) Baptismal certificate of self and of former spouse.
b) Certificate of marriage.
c) Divorce decree (Final Judgment).
d) Current address of former spouse.
e) An initial fee of $100.00 (which represents one-fifth of the $500.00 total legal work expense involved.)
2) The petitioner has a tape recorded preliminary interview (conducted by a parish priest, deacon, parish minister or a Tribunal Staff Member) -OR- writes a narrative that covers in depth the following factual information about the petitioner and his/her former spouse:
a) Description of childhood and home life of self and former spouse. Alcoholism or chemical addiction in family background?
b) Description of dating process and maturity of self and former spouse.
c) Description of how the decision to marry was reached.
d) Description of ability to communicate and resolve conflicts.
e) Description of problems that developed in the marriage and when they began.
f) Description of attempted solutions to the problems.
g) Description of performance of roles of husband/wife, father/mother.
h) Description of how the decision to divorce was reached.
B) When there are ground(s) for a declaration of nullity, the Tribunal will contact both, the petitioner and the respondent.
C) Prior to the formal hearing you, the petitioner, must complete and return the witness list. Witnesses include 2-3 adult people who knew you prior to and during your marriage and can give us information about the marriage. At the time of the formal hearing you, the petitioner, must bring these witnesses in with you. A witness can be a brother, sister, parent, friend, co-worker, neighbor or a member of the wedding party. Witnesses should not all be relatives. We do not interview children of the marriage. At the formal hearing the petitioner and the witnesses will be questioned privately and information obtained in the interview will not be shared with anyone except the members of the Court.
D) If the petition comes to formal hearing the following will occur:
1) All testimony is gathered and sent to the Court Members.
2) Advocate and the Defender of the Bond present their briefs to the Judge.
3) Judge(s) renders a decision.
4) Both the petitioner and the respondent have the right to appeal the decision of the Court of First Instance.
5) Judge's decision is sent to Appeal Court, the Court of Second Instance.
6) When decision is returned from Appeal Court, the Court of Second Instance, the petitioner and the respondent will be notified of decision.
7) A vetitum (prohibition) may be attached to the decision, requiring that either or both spouses must attend professional counseling with a counselor approved by the Tribunal before being allowed to marry in the Catholic Church.
The average length for the Tribunal to process a petition is 14 months. No wedding date can be set until an affirmative decision has been rendered. The Court could require that you participate in an evaluation or counseling with your intended spouse. This requirement is made so that your future marriage may be happy and fulfilling.
To help defray operating expenses of the Tribunal, a fee of $500 is charged: $100 with the petition and the remainder to be paid as the petitioner is able (one payment or monthly installments). Please note that the decision will be rendered in a timely fashion and is not contingent on full payment of fee.
If you have additional questions about annulment procedures, contact the Saint Cloud Diocese's Office of The Tribunal: (320) 251-6557