The Tampa Tribune is reporting that Pope Francis has reformed the process by which many Catholics receive annulments from the church. The reforms take a process that oftentimes took well over and year and, in many cases, shortens that length down to 45 days.
One of the reforms does a way for the need of an exhaustive investigation when both spouses request the annulment (or neither actively opposes it).
Further, there will no longer be automatic appeals after the decision of the church to annul a marriage is initially made.
Moreover, in many instances local bishops will be given the authority to annul a marriage rather than rely on a three-judge tribunal.
An annulment is necessary for a Catholic to remarry in the church or receive communion.
Anyone considering this option should note that a religious annulment is different from a civil annulment. In Florida, there are very limited reasons why a circuit court judge would grant an annulment as opposed to a divorce.
A divorce is a legal declaration that a marriage is dissolved. A civil annulment, on the other hand, is a legal declaration that the marriage was void to begin with. And so, in order to get an annulment, a petitioner would have to prove that the parties never contracted for a valid marriage. The marriage may be invalid because of the following reasons:
- A person was mentally or legally incapacitated;
- The law prohibits certain people marrying (i.e. siblings cannot marry);
- The marriage was wrongfully procured by force, duress, fraud, or concealment.
Further, in most cases, a circuit court will not grant an annulment if the spouses consummated the marriage (engaged in intercourse).
If you are considering filing for an annulment, the best way to resolve all of your issues is via the collaborative process, where you and your spouse have attorneys with you as you sit around a table and amicably agree on how to resolve your family law issues, rather than attack one another in a court battle.