Annulments - Declarations of Nullity

An annulment is a declaration by a Church tribunal (a Catholic Church court) that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union. An annulment (or, more precisely, “a decree of nullity”) is not the equivalent of a “Catholic divorce” – there is actually no such thing as a Catholic divorce.

“…The Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed. In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1629).

If you want to learn more about this topic, here is a list of frequently asked questions.

The Tribunal of the Diocese of Saginaw may be contacted at 989-797-6623. There is no fee charged by the Diocese of Saginaw for the annulment process.

Common Misconceptions 

It is incorrect to view a declaration of nullity by the Catholic Church as being the equivalent of a so-called “Catholic divorce.” It is also important to note another common myth that causes much pain for divorced Catholics. They often believe that the Church requires them to refrain from Holy Communion. In reality, a divorced Catholic is just as welcome as any other adult Catholic to receive Holy Communion. It is only when a divorced Catholic enters into a civil second marriage (without having obtained a decree of nullity) that the Church asks them to ordinarily refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

You can learn more about the Church’s teaching on divorce here.