If you are currently separated or divoced - you've come to the right place.
A Catholic annulment, also known as a declaration of nullity or invalidity, is a statement of fact by the Catholic Church. After carefully examining the couple's broken relationship, the Church states that a valid marriage, as the Church defines marriage, never existed.
An annulment is NOT a "Catholic divorce," as some have called it. Here is the difference:
A divorce looks at the moment the relationship broke down and says,
"A marriage existed, and now we are ending it."
The annulment process says, on the other hand,
"From the very beginning, something was lacking that was necessary for this relationship to be called a marriage."
If you have questions or believe that you have grounds for an anulment, you should contact your local parish. The priest will help you answer your questions and may set up an appointment with a specially trained person (an Advocate) with marriage cases.
You will be asked to tell your story to the Advocate, focusing on your religious and family background, the events and circumstances that led to your decision to marry, the wedding, and your married life. The Advocate will listen, help clarify the key issues, determine what type of case you have, and assist with procedural and jurisdiction questions.
If it appears that the basis for a case exists, you will receive forms appropriate to the type of case you have. You are the Petitioner in the marriage case(s); your former spouse(s) is/are the Respondent(s).
Most annulments are based on canon 1095, psychological reasons. These include a wide range of factors. Some of them may be misrepresentation or fraud (concealing the truth about capacity or desire to have children for example, or about a preexisting marriage, drug addiction, felony convictions, sexual preference or having reached the age of consent)