Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York

Questions Most Often Asked About Annulments

Who may petition for a declaration of nullity?
Anyone, baptized or not, who was a party to a marriage which has ended in separation and divorce may initiate the process. The person who petitions the Tribunal to have his or her marriage declared invalid is the petitioner. A petition can be submitted either through one’s local priest or by directly contacting the Tribunal Office.

Does one’s former spouse have to be informed?
The former spouse, the respondent, is to be informed that a petition has been presented and is to be invited by the Tribunal to participate in the case. If, after all efforts to find the respondent have been exhausted or he or she refuses to cooperate, the Tribunal is competent to adjudicate the petition.

How long does it take for a decision to be rendered?
The time it takes to render a decision varies from petition to petition and diocese to diocese due to various circumstances. Generally, in the Diocese of Ogdensburg, the time it takes to render a decision is 12-14 months.

Is there a fee?

As of June 1, 2015, there will be no fee charged to any party for matrimonial cases commenced in the Tribunal of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. This includes formal cases, Petrine Privilege Cases, Pauline Privilege Cases, Canonical Presumption of Death and Defect of Canonical Form Cases. Automatic Appeals required by canon law will also be processed without any cost to the parties. Tribunal costs will be met through the operating budget of the Tribunal, which is support by the diocesan assessment paid by parishes.

However, any party appealing the decision of the diocesan tribunal or provincial appeals tribunal shall bear the cost of such appeal. Full payment of the appeal is to be made at the time the notice of appeal is filed.

Is a declaration of nullity given in every case?
Marriage enjoys the favor of the law (Canon 1060). When the nullity of a marriage has not been proven or when there is a doubt, the validity of the marriage must be upheld.