How do I begin the process?

Most people first consult with their parish priest or deacon for help obtaining the necessary documents and filling out the forms. Alternatively, you may submit the necessary Instructions & Forms.

The following information must be submitted to the Tribunal:

  • A written summary of the courtship and marriage (Autobiography)
  • The required documents (baptismal certificate (Catholics only), marriage certificate, divorce decree)
  • The filing fee
  • The completed Marital History
  • The Summary Petition
  • The Agreement initialed and signed.

A member of the Tribunal staff will be assigned to assist you once the application is processed.

How is my former spouse involved?

Church law and basic human justice require the Tribunal to notify the former spouse, who must be given an opportunity to present a history of the marriage and introduce witnesses. The Tribunal must have an accurate address of the former spouse. An address of a family member through whom the former spouse may be contacted may be helpful. The Tribunal does not require former spouses to have any contact with each other. The former spouse may choose not to participate in the process. Although the participation of the former spouse is usually helpful to the tribunal in providing a different view of the marriage, his/her nonparticipation does not prevent the case from progressing.

How are my family and friends involved?

Church law requires witnesses to aid the Tribunal in a deeper understanding of the parties, the marriage and the reasons for its failure. Witnesses may be relatives, friends and acquaintances. They will be asked to submit written statements to the Tribunal.

How long is the annulment process?

The Tribunal staff strives to resolve cases with the utmost efficiency, however it is not possible to predict the time it will take to complete a case because of a number of variable factors, including the number of cases to be examined and the complexity of a given case. No plans for future marriage in the Church should be made until and if an affirmative decision is communicated by the Tribunal.

What is the cost of the annulment process?

The process of determining the validity of marriage is very involved and requires full-time staff dedicated only to this process, as well as priests and laity trained in canon law, office space and equipment, all of which is costly. The Diocese of Metuchen assumes most of these costs, with the petitioner responsible for only a small portion. We ask the petitioner to make a $650 contubition, paid in installments, toward the costs of examining his/her case. A petitioner with financial difficulties may establish a feasible payment plan and should not be discouraged from introducing a case.

Can I receive communion if I am divorced and not annulled?

Divorced Catholics who have not remarried may receive communion and the other sacraments. Divorced Catholics who have remarried without obtaining an annulment are not excommunicated from the Church and are welcome to attend Mass and participate in their parish activities.