Any Catholic or non-Catholic who questions the validity of their marriage is welcome to approach the diocese’s Marriage Tribunal.
If you are required to complete any forms such as applications, dispensations and permissions relating to getting married, this is handled by the Office of the Bishop (not the Marriage Tribunal).
For Marriage Tribunal enquiries, contact Bishop’s House on 07 4046 5620.
From a civil legal perspective, a marriage existed and was then dissolved. The Catholic Church, following the teaching of Jesus, does not recognise the ability of the State to dissolve any marriage by divorce.
While the process of seeking a declaration of nullity may be challenging, many people have found the experience can be part of the healing process following the breakdown of a union. The important thing to remember in initiating the process is that our experienced staff care about what has happened to you.
Importantly, an annulment does not declare that the spouses never really loved each other, nor that the breakdown was more the fault of one party than the other, nor that one party is a better Catholic than the other. The process in no way concerns itself with compensation, reward, favours, retribution, or sentiment in determining a decision.
An annulment is a statement that at the time of a wedding a permanent, binding union never came into existence because some essential element for a valid marriage was lacking. The essential elements concern the knowledge, freedom or capacity of a person to enter into marriage. For instance, one of the parties was incapable of marriage due to serious mental illness or a serious psychological condition.
In practical terms, if a union is declared null, the Church considers the parties free of the marriage bond that would have otherwise arisen. The parties are then free to contract marriage in the Catholic Church.