Recently, the Pope announced that he is going to make changes to the annulment process that will make it significantly faster for Catholics to have their marriages annulled. In addition to speeding up the process, the Pope announced that the annulment process should be free. The new process should take as little as 45 days if both parties consent. However, the annulment process that the pope has reformed is different from an annulment that is allowed under the Michigan Court System.
Difference Between a Religious Annulment and Secular Annulment
The annulment process to which the Pope recently made reforms is an internal church review that allows the marriage to be dissolved in the eyes of God, and ultimately allows Catholics to remarry and become eligible to receive communion again. Like a religious annulment, a secular annulment is used to dissolve a marriage.
A secular annulment is used to dissolve a marriage that is technically invalid. Under the statute, the following issues would make a marriage invalid and allow a person to call for an annulment:
● A marriage where one of the spouses is already married to another person. This is also known as bigamy;
● A marriage where one person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated during the marriage;
● A marriage where the person(s) is younger than 16 and did not have signed permission;
● A marriage whose foundation is based on fraud. An example of this is if one spouse is unable to have children and does not inform the other spouse; and
● A marriage where the spouses are related by blood and are closer that first cousins.
These are all instances when if a person provides the proper documentation and completes the appropriate paperwork, a court will grant a person an annulment. Just like divorce, the process for an annulment is difficult and requires an attorney’s experience to execute properly.
Annulled in the Eyes of God, Divorced in the Eyes of the Court
Since a Catholic annulment is a strictly religious process, the State of Michigan does not recognize it as a proper marriage dissolution for legal purposes. In order to dissolve a marriage in the eyes of the court, a couple must go through a secular annulment or through the divorce process outlined in the Michigan statute that deals with divorce. If you have to go through both a religious annulment and a state-recognized divorce or annulment, you may become overwhelmed, and not know what to do. This is when an attorney’s guidance can help ease that feeling of being overwhelmed. An attorney can help you to prepare the divorce or annulment complaint or the response.
Are You Interested in Getting an Annulment or Divorce?
Whether you are looking to get a secular annulment or need to legalize your religious annulment through a divorce, you should consult with an attorney. Michael A. Robbins is a highly qualified attorney in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan who works with people on their divorce proceedings. Contact our firm today by calling 248-646-7980 to take the initial steps to putting your annulment behind you.