A Time for Healing …
You are not alone. The ending of any marriage is a traumatic experience. The adjustment which follows can either be positive or negative; it is always difficult. The Catholic Church reaches out to the divorced through her ministry of mercy. The Church invites you to seriously consider approaching the Marriage Tribunal to seek a ‘declaration of nullity’ (annulment).
To begin this healing journey complete the Time for Healing Worksheet and gather the following documents:
- A newly issued Baptismal Certificate with notations (dated within the last six months) from the Catholic Church in which you were baptized. This certificate must carry a church seal.
- A copy of the marriage license
- A copy of your final divorce decree.
You will be contacted by an Advocate, who will meet with you and give you the necessary forms and information to petition the Church for a Declaration of Nullity. Know that all materials gathered are held in the strictest confidence in accord with Church Law.
A Declaration of Nullity has no effect on the validity of a civil union, legitimacy of children, custody, property, or other settlements.
The Church believes that every marriage between a man and a women who are free to marry (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Non-Believer, etc.) is a valid marriage. Therefore anyone who is divorced, Catholic or non-Catholic, needs to obtain a declaration of nullity or dissolution before he/she is allowed to marry in the Catholic Church.
The process for a declaration of nullity will not be initiated in the Diocese of St. Petersburg until at least one year has passed from the date of the final divorce decree. It is the experience of our Tribunal that time is a great healer. The passage of time indicates that the marital relationship is indeed over and reconciliation is no longer possible, but it will allow for closure and healing.
Effective February 1, 2015, the fees for all Tribunal services for the Diocese of St. Petersburg were eliminated by direction of then Bishop Robert N. Lynch.