The Marriage Tribunal explores any possibilities that may be available to a divorced Catholic to marry in a Catholic Church, or for a Catholic to marry a divorced person who is not of the Catholic faith. The formal process is to seek an Annulment (of Marriage). In the Archdiocese of Cardiff the Marriage Tribunal is known as the National Tribunal for Wales, assisting in such cases throughout the three Catholic Dioceses in the Province.
The Tribunal does not offer relationship advice or help to mediate in any way. The Tribunal exists to make judgements on the possibility of nullity of pre-existing marriages in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
If you would like to seek guidance about the possibility of an annulment please feel free to contact the Marriage Tribunal using the button below or contact the secretary to the National Tribunal for Wales.
Judicial Vicar: Canon Matthew Jones
Canon David Hayman,
The Priest’s House,
Telephone: 01495 762280
Who can ask for an annulment?
Either party of a marriage can petition the Church for an annulment. They do not have to be Catholic to seek nullity. Requests are usually made because one of the couple wishes to marry in a Catholic Church. Petitions can only be accepted from a named party in a marriage, not from a third party such as a relative.
How long does the process take?
The answer to this question varies dependant upon the case and the co-operation of all concerned in the process. It could take weeks or it could take a year or more. The National Tribunal of Wales will also be dealing with other cases, which could also be a factor.
We appreciate that some applicants may have a strong desire to marry in a Catholic Church and we do our best to resolve cases in a timely manner. We strongly recommend no date for a future wedding is set until the nullity process has been concluded. No member of the Catholic clergy may celebrate the marriage of a divorcee until the first marriage has been declared null and void by the Church through the annulment process.
The Tribunal works hard to ensure that any response given has been thoroughly investigated and evidence obtained to ensure it is the correct response.
Is there a cost involved?
The Tribunal operates on a mixed staff principle including clergy, volunteers and paid workers. There will inevitably be a cost associated to help pay the wages and expenses involved in the process. We desire to respond to anyone who wishes to petition for nullity and finances should not be a stumbling block. We encourage all petitioners to approach the tribunal and if finance is an issue to enter into dialogue with us.
How do I petition for an annulment?
You may contact the tribunal directly using with the contact details on this page or the email, button below to discuss whether there may be a case to investigate. For pastoral reasons and to help support you with through the period, we recommend that your first contact should be with your local priest. They will be able to chat with you and seek advice where necessary. They can also help you to complete the initial forms to begin the process.
Does my former spouse need to know?
For any annulment decision to be the right decision the Tribunal always tries to gather as much evidence as possible. Part of the process will usually involve writing to your former spouse to give them the opportunity to respond. We do this in a sensitive manner but if you have concerns please do let us know.
In a number of cases the former spouse chooses not to participate; their participation nor agreement are necessary to the annulment process.
How does this affect my children?
It is a common misconception that an annulment makes children illegitimate in church law. That is false; it does not! As part of the annulment process we will ask if the civil obligations toward any children are being fulfilled.
Do I have to stop receiving Holy Communion until my marriage is annulled?
No. A divorce is a civil law court process that does not impact a person’s status in the eyes of the Church — it’s only impact is in civil law. Getting a divorce does not mean someone is “excommunicated” or unable to receive sacraments. However, since a civil divorce doesn’t impact someone’s status in the Church, it does mean that someone who is divorced but has not gone through an annulment is not free to remarry in the Church.
Any Catholic, or any person of good will who desires to marry in a Catholic Church is actively encouraged to approach their local priest or contact the tribunal to discuss their circumstances to see if we can help. We are here to help.