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CLP Services: Annulment Consultation and Representation

Divorce is never easy and is always painful.  For Catholics or for those interested in marrying a Catholic, the process of moving on in your life does not always end with a civil divorce decree. Often, people choose to pursue an annulment from the Church that allows them to remarry in the Church, or join the Church years after a divorce. Simply put, an annulment is a legal process in canon law where a Church tribunal examines whether the marriage was, in fact, a sacramental bond.  Obtaining an annulment is a complicated legal process that is often time-consuming, confusing and frustrating.  Though it can be emotionally draining, many of our clients claim that it is also a liberating process that helps put bad relationships behind them, and helps them learn from their past mistakes so that they can enter a new marriage as a wiser and more mature spouse.

The annulment paperwork and process is often done with your pastor and/or lay advocates who help you navigate the process. Most tribunals offer parties the services of local advocates. These advocates are often specially trained to help those seeking a declaration of invalidity for a previous marriage, though the vast majority does not possess degrees in canon law. Often, advocates for a particular diocese are the priests, deacons, and pastoral ministers (laity or religious) who work in parish communities.

While the first step in any procedure about the invalidity of a marriage often involves contacting one of these people, you are not bound to work only with them. A person may freely appoint their own advocate whom they feel will assist them most effectively. And while the local advocate’s services are usually adequate, there are many circumstances where your marital situation may be more complicated, or you simply desire a higher level of expertise and representation.  This is when you call Canon Law Professionals.

Our professional advocates can serve as an procurator/advocate (lawyer) for either the petitioner (the one seeking the annulment) or the respondent (the other party).  Petitioners are those who have come before the Church Tribunal and have asked that their former marriage be examined because they believe for some reason that their union should be declared invalid. An advocate can assist the petitioner in presenting the pertinent evidence and crafting the legal arguments necessary to support his or her claims. For the Petitioner, we will not only help you draft your autobiographical essays and correspondence with the tribunal, but we can craft an advocate’s brief to help you argue your case for nullity.

Respondents are those who have not come before the Church Tribunal of their own accord. They may be willing participants, or they may wish to argue for or against the invalidity of their previous marriage. An advocate can assist a respondent in presenting his or her side of the story.  For respondents, CLP can assist you in presenting your narrative and making sure that your story is heard. We will help you protect your rights, including if you desire, arguments opposing the annulment. As with all our clients, you are assured the upmost level of confidentiality regarding your case.

For both petitioners and respondents, our advocates can assist you with:
  • Taking the time to explain the process and how it works
  • Helping our clients determine what legal grounds exist that best supports your case
  • Helping you to determine which tribunal is competent to hear your case
  • Crafting a comprehensive autobiographical essay
  • Determining whether other useful evidence exists that might strengthen your case
  • Helping you choose witnesses
  • Answering any questions that might arise during your case
  • Drafting an advocate’s brief to help you clearly argue your case
  • Protecting your rights throughout the case
With Canon Law Professionals, you know that your case will be presented in the most professional and comprehensive manner.

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