Guide For Petitioner's Statement
The following are guidelines that prospective petitioners may use in writing the history of the relationship that must accompany the petition form and the necessary documents. Petition forms may be obtained at any parish of the Archdiocese.
A church annulment is a spiritual matter with no civil effects.
There are many grounds for nullity recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. To determine whether or not there are demonstrable grounds in your petition, the Tribunal seeks to obtain as detailed and accurate a picture of the relationship as possible. Information about the background and personality of both parties, as well as the entire relationship from courtship to final separation is absolutely essential.
The following guide is provided to assist you in compiling your statement. While all areas may not pertain in each individual case, any information you supply for each section will be helpful. Please be as thorough and detailed as possible; keep your statement in narrative form and in chronological sequence. Also, please see that your statement is typewritten or, if it is necessary to submit handwritten testimony, that it is written legibly on standard sized paper.
Background and Personality of Each Party:
We are particularly interested in specific areas that would have a significant bearing on the decision to wed: expectations concerning marriage or the ability to fulfill marital responsibilities. Some areas for consideration would be relations with parents, family stability, social life, work history, military service, problems with authority, drugs or alcohol, attitude toward sex, religious practice, general level of maturity and responsibility.
When and how you met, length of courtship, source of attraction, nature and frequency of dating, was the relationship ever broken (if so, reasons why, by whom, for how long, etc.) Any problems, how the topic of marriage arose, length of formal engagement, did you have any doubts or reservations, did anyone advise against the marriage, your ideas about marriage at the time - permanence, fidelity, children; any unusual pressure to marry, attitude toward and use of sex during courtship, type of marriage preparation.
Wedding and Honeymoon:
Any unusual incidents on the wedding day, general estimation of honeymoon, any problems or difficulties encountered on the honeymoon, was the marriage consummated at this time?
Length of cohabitation, attitude of each toward work and household responsibilities, attitudes about children, physical or emotional mistreatment, use of free time, any part played by parents/in-laws in the marriage, any problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, finances, etc., when did problems first arise and over what; use of professional help; any separations - and if so, the reason, the length, the circumstances surrounding the return/reconciliation.
What caused it, were people surprised by it, any attempts at reconciliation; any possibility of a reunion; has either party remarried.
If either party had psychiatric care, give the names and addresses of the psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists and the approximate dates and number of times they were consulted; also any diagnosis received.
Accompanying the petition form and the written statements, there must be recent copies of baptismal certificates (for Catholic parties only), the marriage certificate and the civil decree of divorce (or civil annulment).
At least two people among family and/or friends who were aware of the problems in the relationship and are willing to write what they know to the Tribunal. Kindly ask them to be as specific and detailed as possible, and to cite concrete examples. (A guide sheet for witnesses is also available.)
Present name and address for the other party must be provided. If the whereabouts are unknown, the name and address last known, or the name and address of a parent, relative, friend, place of employment, etc. must be supplied through which the Tribunal can establish contact.