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Pope Francis Makes Annulment Easier and Free

Pope Francis has decreed that the Catholic Church take steps to make marriage annulment for the faithful easier and free.

Interesting news – but how does this affect legal annulments? Answer – not at all.


What is annulment in the legal sense?

Annulment is simply the process a Court uses to state a marriage never legally existed.

An annulment must be based on one of a combination of the following:

Mental illness. If one or the other was mentally incompetent or unable to consent.

Fraud. A spouse may accuse the other of already being married (whether living with them or not). Or one agreed to be married to the other based on fraudulent statements or actions.

Forced consent. If either spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage or felt forced or threatened.

Physical incapacity to consummate the marriage. If one spouse was unaware at the time of marriage the other spouse was physically and incurably impotent.

Lack of consent to underage marriage. If either spouse was under 16 and did not have court approval, or if either was sixteen or seventeen and did not have parental consent. Certain relationships between relations by blood.

Of course, this is just a quick overview of the annulment process. To find out more please contact our office or visit our divorce page.

Difference between divorce and annulment.

In a divorce, the Court decides a date to end an otherwise legal marriage. The court will manage the division of marital property and debts, the initial child custody and visitation schedules, and will also award child and spousal support.

Annulments legally make the marriage like it never happened. Annulment grounds are limited to fraud, bigamy and insanity. There are specific legal tests to meet these criteria. Either the husband or the wife may apply to the Court for the annulment of a marriage.

Divorce or annulment cases may become complex due to issues involving financial assets and liabilities, spousal support, child custody and child support. Sometimes, a case will have only one challenging issue, but it has important emotional or financial issues attached which make it difficult to resolve. You want and need the support of an experienced attorney who can assist you through all of the processes and, when needed, call upon experts to support your case. So even if Pope Francis makes annulment easier and free seek legal advise. Contact us today if you have any questions or need help!

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