Faith/Spirituality Forum: annulment

annulment QUESTION from Kelly on February 21, 2003 My husband and I were married 12 years ago in a Catholic Church. I am Catholic, but unsure if he has ever been baptized. Recently he has asked me for a divorce against my wishes. I wanted to seek counseling, but he does not. I do not wish to convert, but I can not raise our 3 children in a religion that does accept me. Are there grounds for an annulment for a person who has no choice but a divorce? I can not stay married to a man who doesn't love me and I can't belong to a church that won't allow me to take communion or remarry.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on April 10, 2003 Dear Kelly:
I am sorry to hear about your marriage. Marital break ups are always a tragedy. We will be in prayer for you and your family.
The Church loves you and wants you to remain in communion with her, for to remain in communion with the Catholic Church is to remain in communion with Christ. Remaining in communion with Christ is more important than anything else for without that communion we lose eternal happiness.
As for your situation, you may remain a Catholic in good standing and participate in the Eucharist as a divorced person AS LONG as you don't get remarried without a decree of Nullity of the first marriage.
Thus, if you never remarry, you have nothing to worry about.
Should you decide to remarry, then you will need to ask your diocese about an annulment. They can tell you whether you will need one or not. If your marriage was considered valid by the Church at the time, then an annulment is most likely needed.
But, you do not need to get an annulment unless you desire to remarry or become a religious.
After the divorce is final, I would advise making petition for annulment just to have it out of the way. After the paperwork is done it takes about a year or so to get a decision. The Annulment process tends to be for most people a healing process. DO not be afriad of it. I have gone through an annulment myself. It was for me a healing.
But bottomline: you can STILL receive communion as a divorced single person assuming you are free of mortal sin, of course, as is true for all of us, which can be cleaned by the Sacrament of Confession.
We will be in prayer for you.
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