F.A.Q.

While it would be impossible to answer all your questions on this site, we believe the questions listed below are among the more commonly asked. Hopefully the answers given will be of some assistance to you. You are of course welcome and encouraged to contact us for further information.

If he/she gets an annulment (Decree of Nullity)  can I get one too?

What about children?

How can it be said “there never was a marriage?”

Can I remarry if a Decree of Nullity is granted?

What is the Appeals Tribunal?

How much does it cost? 

Can I object to the investigation? 

Does the Tribunal have a Safeguarding Policy?

If he/she gets an annulment (Decree of Nullity can I get one too?

A Decree of Nullity applies to the Marriage itself not the parties. In other words, if the marriage is declared invalid, the decision involves both parties.

What about children?

The Church or The State does not view children as illegitimate. While the couple attempted marriage, it is presumed they did so in good faith. It should be remembered that a Church Decree of Nullity has no effect in Civil Law. It is important to point out to people nonetheless that they need, in time, to discuss the issue with their children insofar as age and understanding allows.

It is also advisable to contact a solicitor for advice on legal matters such as legal separation, custody of children, civil nullity or divorce.

How can it be said, “There never was a marriage”?

A Decree of Nullity means that a “valid” marriage never existed. It does not seek to deny either the existence of, or the respect that is due to, the relationship that did exist. Indeed the invalid marriage usually continues to give rise to certain obligations even after a declaration of nullity has been made. It would certainly be wrong to suggest that the invalid marriage had been a figment of people’s imagination.

Can I re-marry if a Decree of Nullity is granted?

A Decree of Nullity says that a Marriage was not valid. Therefore, in the eyes of the Church both parties are now unmarried (single) and thus free to enter marriage. There may be, on occasion, a caution attached regarding future marriage. This would involve cases where it is felt that the problems encountered in one union are likely to recur in another.

It must be remembered that the Law of the State must be adhered to if another marriage is contemplated.

What is the “Appeals Tribunal”?

It is not sufficient that any one Regional Tribunal declares a marriage to have been null and void. There exists, at national level, another Tribunal called the National Marriage Appeals Tribunal. In the event of an affirmative decision being reached at Regional level, the decision must be ratified by the Appeal Tribunal. Only on ratification of the decision of the Regional Tribunal by the National Marriage Appeal Tribunal, is a Decree of Nullity issued. Cases are taking approximately twelve months at Appeals Level.

How much does it cost?

The cost, it must be remembered is towards the investigation of a case. Nobody can pay for an “annulment”. This figure is currently set at €1200.00 (to be updated) and may be paid in installments over the duration of the case. The individual circumstances of those approaching Tribunals are always taken into account and an inability to pay all or part of the expenses does not prevent a case being accepted.

The costs are borne by the person who approaches the Tribunal (the Petitioner). Sometimes a couple may agree to share these costs.

Can I object to the investigation?

Yes, you can object and the most certain way of doing so is through your co-operation. This ensures that the fullest possible picture of your marriage is presented to The Tribunal and that the evidence is objective, complete and accurate.

Finally, it should be remembered that people have right to approach a Marriage Tribunal in order to have the circumstances of their particular marriage investigated. Once the approach is made, the Tribunal is obliged to respond, following the procedure outlined in this booklet.

Does the Tribunal have a Safeguarding Policy?

Yes. All information shared during the Tribunal process will be treated with respect and confidentiality. However, there are limits to the confidentiality in that if information is brought to the attention of the Tribunal concerning child sexual abuse, where an identified individual may pose a threat to children, the statutory authorities will be given the identified name/relationship or status and/or alleged victim’s name with the contact details of the person who is giving the information. This is in keeping with Tribunal Policy and the Catholic Church’s Policy – Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland. The Designated Tribunal Safeguarding Officer is Mr. Kevin Duffy, Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Áras de Brún, Newtownsmith, Galway, phone number +353-87-6141736.

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