Various Roles in the Annulment Process

Various Roles in the Annulment Process

 

PETITIONER : A Petitioner is a civilly divorced person who asks the Tribunal: “Was my prior marriage a valid covenant before the Lord?” There is a common misconception that a Petitioner is similar to a plaintiff in civil law. In reality, these two are nothing alike. In the civil process, a plaintiff accuses another person/entity of causing him/her damage or harm. The purpose of a civil court is to, if necessary, restore the plaintiff to where he/she was before being harmed.

In the Church, a Petitioner is simply the person who asks the Tribunal if their previous marriage was valid; if he/she is still bound to their ex-spouse. The Tribunal is not interested in blaming or punishing either party. Through the investigation process, the Tribunal often uncovers truths about the marriage that help both Petitioner and Respondent learn how to better love, and how to grow in their faith. The purpose of a Tribunal is to find Truth and to lead both Petitioner and Respondent to Christ Jesus.

RESPONDENT : A Respondent is the ex-spouse of a Petitioner. Because the purpose of the Tribunal is to find the Truth and bring all people closer to Christ, the Respondent is given the same rights as the Petitioner. The Respondent is also encouraged to participate as little or as much as he/she wishes in the process. Many Respondents find the investigation a source of solace and healing af