Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

How do I apply for an annulment?

The first step is to complete one of our "Formula of Petition" forms and return them to the Tribunal office. These can be obtained by downloading them from the links on 'Home' page of this website or by telephoning the Tribunal. The petition will be evaluated and you will be contacted as soon as possible as regards the next step.

What documents do I need?

Marriage and divorce certificates of any previous marriage or marriages are required. If you intend to remarry, the same certificates are required for your intended if he/she has been married before. If any spouse of a previous marriage is now deceased, a copy of the death certificate(s) ought also be included. If a divorce has not yet been granted, or you have applied for new copies of your certificates, you can submit your petition in the meantime, indicating this fact. Please note, however, that the certificates must be submitted before the end of the evidence gathering phase of the process. Otherwise, the process cannot proceed further. This will be explained to you if and as it happens.

How long does the ordinary process take?

The ordinary process can take up to two years. You will be informed at every stage of the process, but you should be aware that some stages take longer than others. Delays in the process can arise for many reasons [slow responses from parties, postponements of interviews, difficulties in interviewing witnesses, important new information coming to light, the need for expert testimony, etc..]. The Tribunal endeavours to process cases as swiftly as possible. This can only be achieved, however, if everyone involved plays his/her role conscientiously and promptly.

How long does the new "briefer process" take?

We do not yet know. As the briefer process is used, it will be easier to indicate an approximate time-frame. Rough estimates being guessed at indicate between 3-6 months, but there is as yet no sure guide. It must be remembered, however, that the decision to invoke the "briefer process" rests with the diocesan Bishop or, if he so chooses, his own dicoesan Judicial Vicar.

How long does the "documentary process" take?

Providing all of the conditions required to use this process are in place, and provided those involved act promptly, this process can be relatively quick, e.g. between 6-9 months. It must be remembered, however, that this process may only be used for cases of impediments and canonical form, not for deficiency of consent.

Where is the Tribunal?

The Tribunal Office is at 22 Woodrow Road, Pollokshields, Glasgow, G41 5PN. There are no parking restrictions and motorway links are nearby. Dumbreck Railway Station is a ten minute walk and Shields Road Underground is a 15 minute walk.

How long does the interview take?

You should allow around three hours, although sometimes [depending on various factors] it may last longer. Please do not let this defer you from petitioning a nullity as arrangements can be adapted on a case by case basis.

Who does the interview with me?

The Case Instructor [the person who is gathering all the information in your case] will interview you on a one-to-one basis.

Can I bring someone in when I am being interviewed?

Someone may accompany you to the Tribunal, but may not be present when you are giving your testimony – all interviews are conducted on a one-to-one basis to protect the freedom and confidentiality of both the interviewer and the interviewee respectively in asking and answering questions.

How do I make an appointment?

When work is ready to begin on your case you will be contacted [by letter] and asked to make an appointment.

Do I need to bring anything with me?

You need to bring proof of your identity with you and any official documents that are required but you have not yet submitted.

Can I keep my address secret?

No personal information is divulged to anyone other than Officials of the Tribunal

Will I need witnesses?

All cases require corroborative evidence. Witnesses are normally family or friends who knew you and/or your former spouse at the time of your courtship and/or marriage. Information regarding witnesses is contained in the Explanatory Notes which accompany the Preliminary Enquiry Form. 

Should I be nervous?

Most people who come for interview are naturally nervous to some degree. All of our Case Instructors are experienced in this work and appreciate that talking about personal experiences can be difficult. While the Instructor must remain neutral in any case, he/she will try to be as helpful and reassuring as possible.

Can the outcome of my case be guaranteed?

No. The fact that an application is made and a case is being processed does not automatically guarantee a successful outcome.

How do I know how my case is progressing?

You will be informed at every stage in the process [by letter] as your case moves along.

Does my former spouse have to be contacted?

Yes. Your former spouse must be advised that this process is underway and given the opportunity to exercise his/her right to participate. The opportunity may be declined but your case can still proceed. It should be noted that you are obliged morally and canonically to provide details, to the extent you know them, of the whereabouts of your former spouse. Your former spouse, if Catholic and able to be localised, is likewise morally and canonically obliged to participate in the nullity procedure. Both you and your former spouse have the right to engage in this same procedure in strict accordance with the norm of law. This means that the Tribunal officials are held accountable in ensuring that you are treated properly and legally.

Will this have any effect on the children of the marriage?

No.

If I don’t get the result I want, can I try again later?

A decision of a First or Second Instance Tribunal may be appealed to the superior instance finishing with the Roman Rota. Alternatively, you may introduce a new petition for nullity on new grounds, if these enjoy sufficient basis. There are other possibilities which can be explained to you in person.

How much does it cost?

There is no charge. Donations are, however, gratefully received.

What are the rights of the other party to the marriage?

The other party has exactly the same rights as you do in the process [being the other party to the bond of marriage under investigation].

Can I cancel my interview?

Interviews can be cancelled, however we would ask that as much notice is possible is given to Tribunal Assistants in order to avoid the loss of time which could be used in other cases.

Can I stop the process?

The trial can be renounced by the Petitioner by requesting in writing to the Presiding Judge that the case ends without a decision due to a change of heart or of circumstances. A trial can also be abated by the law itself, once six months have passed with no procedural act being placed by the parties, provided that they have been notified of such by the Presiding Judge.

Do I get a copy of my interview?

All evidence is kept by the Tribunal and may only be seen by the Petitioner and Respondent and those who take an official part in the process. The faculty to view the evidence is decreed once the gathering phase of the process is complete.  For reasons of data protection and the sensitivity of much of the information given in the interview exchange, not only about the person being interviewed but also about others [the Respondent, relatives, medical conditions, etc.], no copy of the interview can be released.

Can I appeal a decision?

Decisions can be appealed to the second instance tribunal (Birmingham) according to the terms of the law which will be made clear to both Petitioner and Respondent upon communication of the Tribunal’s decision.

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