Can my ex annul my marriage without my consent?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Ok so this is a bit long and complex but I'd really appreciate people's thoughts on this.
I'm C of E and married a Catholic man 15 years ago. I am not very religious nor is he, but his Italian family is. I was and am very fond of them, and agreed to marry in a Catholic church because I couldn't bear to make them unhappy by doing it in a civil ceremony.
Everything was idylic for around 5 years until we start trying for kids. Five years later no babies, £10,000 poorer. The fault is mine (fibroids and endo) - I couldn't take the heartbreak and painful treatments anymore and asked to call it a day and accept we weren't going to be parents. Things broke down and he left and asked for a divorce, I didn't want this but decided there was no point in prolonging the marriage and that I needed to move on.
We've now been divorced for two years and he plans to marry a lady who is a practising Catholic. He has asked me to agree to our marriage being annulled so that he can marry her in her local Catholic church as she wants. I refused. I am not petty or vindictive and I accept our marriage is at an end - I now have a new partner too. What I can't accept is him trying to say that our marriage was invalid, we once loved each other very much. He has several times accused me of knowing I couldn't have children before we married and not telling him (not true), he says he can have our marriage annulled on these grounds.
I do understand that if he doesn't, it's going to make his new partner very unhappy but I can't help the way I feel. We were married and I think his wish to try and cancel this out is wrong. It makes me feel inadequate because of my inability to have a child and it also really hurts.
I want to know if he can annul our marriage without my agreement? Will I be contacted and asked for my side of the story before this happens? (He was born in the UK and we were married here.) Any Catholics out there who can advise me on this? I'd also love thoughts on if this is the right thing to do, or am I being unreasonable towards him, his new partner and any kids they might have. Will this make them illegitimate in the eyes of the Catholic church?
-- SassyQ (email@example.com), January 20, 2005
He can petition for annulment without your agreement, but the tribunal will make the determination. You will be contacted and asked for your input, which is voluntary. Any input you provide will be considered, but failure to provide input will not stop the procvess from proceding. Frankly, if the situation is as you described, and there are no other issues, I see no valid grounds for annulment. Such an unknown medical condition is the very kind of thing you agree to accept when you make a solemn vow "in sickness and in health", "for better or for worse". However, if your local tribunal is relatively liberal, as some unfortunately are, annulment might be granted anyway.
You have to realize that some of the phrases you used, like "were married" and "our marriage is at an end", though very commonplace in society at large, are meaningless in the eyes of the Church. From the Church's position, if you "were" validly married, you still ARE validly married, and will be until one of you dies. Unless the tribunal finds valid objective grounds for annulment, it should not grant one. But again, abuses do occur, more commonly in some dioceses than in others.
Since you have already accepted that your marriage to him "is over", I see no reason to object to his taking steps to see how his Church views the situation. It will make a profound difference in his life but seemingly little or no real difference in yours.
One final thought - your inability to have children is not your "fault". Perhaps you didn't mean it in the literal sense, but the fact is, there was absolutely no fault involved in your medical situation as you described it, only in his response to it.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), January 20, 2005.
3 points to add to Paul's wise answer:
If the marriage WAS annulled, this would mean that the Church does not regard it as having been an instance of the Catholic Sacrament of Matrimony. It would still have been a marriage in the view of the civil authorities. And it doesn't mean you didn't love each other. This seems to be all that matters to you, since you said you would have preferred a civil-only marriage and you only marrried in the Catholic Church to avoid upsetting his family.
You are perfectly entitled to state to the Tribunal that you don't think there are any grounds for an annulment, and why. But the Tribunal is there to consider the facts of whether the marriage was a valid Sacrament. Whether an annulment would hurt your feelings is not a consideration. But the onus is on him to prove that the marriage was invalid.
In the eyes of the Church, all children are legitimate, otherwise God wouldn't have created them. But if the previous marriage is not annulled he and his new lady will not be able to marry in the Catholic Church, and the Church fordids them to marry outside of the Church (or of course to have sexual intercourse outside marriage).
-- Steve (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 21, 2005.
I am told by his mother that my ex has obtained advice about our situation. He has been told that the chances of him getting an annulment because of my infertility are very, very slim. If it came to it my medical records will prove that I did not know about my condition when I married.
So I believe he is trying to come up with something else, and quickly. I understand that this means everything to his new lady, but at the moment I can't find it in my heart to assist him in this to free them up. Perhaps one day I will, but not now.
He left me because I couldn't have children - I can't think that anyone would believe what he did was right. I just wonder if he would do this again if his new partner had problems.
-- SassyQ (email@example.com), January 21, 2005.
So I believe he is trying to come up with something else, and quickly. I understand that this means everything to his new lady, but at the moment I can't find it in my heart to assist him in this to free them up. Perhaps one day I will, but not now. He left me because I couldn't have children - I can't think that anyone would believe what he did was right. I just wonder if he would do this again if his new partner had problems. ---SASSY
I understand your pain and your struggle to deal with your ex. (These kinds of problems are probably exactly why God never INTENDED for man and woman to split up after the two became one). But it sounds like you don't want the anullment because bloaking it would somehow be your revenge against your ex. Don't get me wrong, I'd be mad as hell too if my husband did that to me. In fact, I'd probably do worse, exacting all evil kinds of revenge on him. But what I would do and what other people think about your ex is beside the point.
The point I'm trying to make here is SCREW HIM. You're divorced, you found other people, no use dwelling on the past. God says vengence is His, He will repay. So don't think you're gonna go to the tribunal and make the ex look evil. Just tell the facts. If your ex is as bad as you say he is, the tribunal will see it. And if they don't see it and if he gets his anullment and lives happily ever after, you're going to make your life miserable, wondering everyday if there was something you missed, something you couldn't told the tribunal, something you could done to stop the anullment... ugh. Living like that sucks. Don't fall into the devil's snare, the same snare your ex fell into when he decided to divorce you on obviously evil grounds. I'll pray for you.
-- rina (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 21, 2005.
Thanks Hellorina. I already know that telling the truth is the best thing to do. He originally came to me and asked me to agree to everything he said to get what he wants. If he claims that we married in the Catholic church to please his family - I'll agree with that because it is the truth. I doubt that he will though, he won't really want to admit that.
I am tired of his daily calls and unannounced visits, and have told him that I will go to the police if he doesn't stop harrasing me over this matter. I am not going to lie to help him get this annulment and I am not going to be pestered or bullied about it.
By the way thanks to those who have offered me their thoughts and advice - it really is appreciated.
-- SassyQ (email@example.com), January 21, 2005.
You may recall that the C of E was founded because Henry the 8th behaved very much like your husband. Pray for him and try to forgive him.
Tell the complete truth to the tribunal, both the good things and the bad things, and you are free to voice your opinion on the validity of your marriage. Then pray for them as well that they may come to a good a just decision.
I will pray for you too.
-- Pat Delaney (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 22, 2005.