The Federation Press

Dissolution and Annulment of Marriage by the Catholic Church


For some Roman Catholics, divorce has major consequences over and above those for non-Catholics. It is of crucial importance to these divorcees that, after the Family Law Act proceedings finish, the (Catholic) Marriage Tribunal is approached for a Canon Law finding that the marriage was null and void - such a finding can be made even though there are children of the marriage (who may remain legitimate despite a "null and void" finding).

Any lawyer advising a Catholic on divorce should also advise their client to consider seeking counsel with the Marriage Tribunal. Eileen Stuart's book explains why; and also explains the concepts and steps which must be taken.

Table of Contents


The Kinds of Law
Eternal Law/ Divine Positive Law/ Human Positive Law/ Customary Law/ Natural Law/ Ecclesiastical Law/ Historical Outline

The Constitution and Authority of The Church
The Ecclesial Community in Communion/ Sanctions/ Particular Penalties/ Remission of Penalties

The Law of Marriage
The History of Marriage and Canonical Form/ The Nature of Marriage/ The Properties of Marriage/ The Convalidation of Marriage/ The Prohibition of Marriage

The Law of Dissolution
The Indissolubility of the Ratified and Consummated Bond/ Non-Consummation/ The Doctrine of the Privilege of the Faith/ The Separation of the Spouses/ Proof of Baptism/ The Standard of Proof

The Law of Annulment
The Problem of Retroactivity/ The Judicial Process/ The Statistics

The Grounds of Annulment I
The Diriment Impediments/ Lack or Defect of Form/ Defects of Consent

The Grounds of Annulment II
Defects of the Will/ Force and Fear/ Conditional Marriage

The Solutions
The Church's Pastoral Solutions/ Canonical Equity and Oikonomia/ The Information and Communication Gap


Melbourne Tribunal Information for Petitioner
Melbourne Tribunal Guidelines for Petitioner
Research Questionnaire for Tribunal Personnel (USA)
Questionnaire for Candidates for Pastoral Solution (USA)

Glossary of Canonical Terms/ Bibliography/ Chronological Table of Papal Documents/ Index

Of interest...