Canon 1055,1 states that "The Marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptised, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."
Canon 1055,2 states that "Consquently, a valid marriage contract cannot exist between baptised persons without its being by that very fact a sacrament."
The Church takes marriage very seriously. A sacramental marriage is a holy covenant made by a man and a woman before God; their marriage is joined by God.
What does the Tribunal do?
Since the Church considers marriage as a sacrament, the annulment process is required to declare the marriage NOT to be sacamental. The Tribunal does not "nullify" or wipe out a previously existing marriage. Rather, it issues a DECLARATION OF INVALIDITY, a statement that in the judgement of the Catholic Church, no valid sacramental marriage took place.
It must be emphasized that this matter pertains only to the laws of the Catholic Church. A decision from a Catholic Ecclesiastical Tribunal, while it declares that a sacramental bond never was complete from the beginning, does not affect the religious status of a member of another denomination, nor does it have any effect in civil law. Thus, such matters as legitimacy of children, custody provisions, property matters -all things which are settled by the civil law in the divorce action - are not changed.
An annulment is a chance to heal and start again! The Tribunal staff devote their time and efforts to assist those who suffer the pain of a broken marriage, and who experience a sense of separation from the Church and God. It is the ministry of this office to help heal the wounds of a broken marriage. It is the hope of those who work at the Tribunal to inform you of the facts, and to remove error and suspicion about the role of the Tribunal.
There is information that we need to start the procedure.