In a controversial – but seemingly widely-approved – decision, Pope Francis has set the stage to streamline the Catholic Church’s annulment process. In particular, lengthy appeal processes will be removed and critical decisions regarding an annulment will likely be available to lower-levels of clergy. Overall, it should take away months or years out of the annulment process for most Catholic married couples.
As of now, Catholics need an annulment that declares their marriage never existed if they want to remarry within the Church. This process was heavily criticized for being overcomplicated and drawn-out. Not only did the extensive timeline increase the stress the families felt, it also slammed them with higher court costs and attorney fees.
To avoid the related issues, many would remarry outside of the Church but would therefore no longer have a marriage sanctioned by the Church. This solution created expected rifts of tension in many Catholics who wanted to have their marriages Church-recognized but could not stand the thought of staying in their marriage any longer than was necessary.
No Change in Attitude Towards Divorce
While some Catholics see this change as a sign of the Pope’s compassion and his ability to recognize that staying in an unhealthy marriage due to religion benefits no one, others are quick to say that not much has changed. As marriage is one of the seven sacraments in Catholic Church, it is still viewed as highly important to respect and maintain. Furthermore, they point out that divorce is not the same as an annulment.
Where divorce is handled in a court, an annulment is judged by a clergy. The decision to annul a marriage may be granted by a clergy – sometimes called a tribunal – for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are:
- The marriage was never intended to be a life-long commitment
- The marriage was never consummated
- One spouse admits to never wanting children
The new expedited rules regarding annulments are scheduled to take effect as early as December 8th, 2015. If you have any questions about divorce – as a member of the Catholic Church or otherwise – you should contact Hedayati Law Group P.C. Our Long Island divorce attorneys are more than capable of handling your case with both compassion and efficiency.
We also offer free case evaluations, so why not call us today at (631) 880-6440 and set your mind at ease?