Marriage Annulment

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is an annulment?
  2. How do I start the process for declaration of nullity?
  3. My priest told me I have an easy annulment? Why is it taking so long to complete my case?
  4. My priest told me it would take four to six months to process my case?
  5. I have called the Tribunal Office many times inquiring about my case and I always get the same answer, "your case is in Father's drawer waiting for the second evaluation."
  6. What is libellus?
  7. My former spouse, called the Respondent, is hostile to the process declaring our marriage null. Can he/she stop or harm the process?
  8. I received a letter from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe Tribunal Office stating my declaration of nullity received an affirmative decision? Does this mean I can go forward with marriage plans immediately?
  9. I just received a letter of ratification from the Diocese of Phoenix but they have informed me that I am restricted from future marriage in the church. What does this mean? What am I supposed to do?
  10. How long will I have to wait for my case(s) to be completed?
  11. I have already made marriage plans, how much longer must I wait?
  12. I don’t understand the grounds?
  13. Do I send the profession witness the questionnaire?
  14. Why is it the rich always get their cases heard first?
  15. Neither myself nor my former spouse were Catholic, why must I go through the process of declaring my marriage null?


What is an annulment?

An annulment is an official Church declaration that a previous marriage no longer binds a person spiritually.

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How do I start the process for a declaration of nullity?

The first step to starting the process for declaring your marriage null is to go to your pastor or to the local Catholic parish. Either the pastor himself, or someone he delegates will help you start the process by giving you the paperwork?

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My priest told me I have an easy annulment? Why is it taking so long to complete my case?

In the Archdiocese of Santa Fe the time to process a declaration of nullity is approximately eighteen months (18). Regardless of whether or not your case is an “easy” case, there are many cases ahead of yours and cases are processed in the order received.

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My priest told me it would take four to six months to process my case?

Please remember that your priest does not work in the Tribunal Office and is unfamiliar with our caseloads. If you wish to get an accurate assessment of how long it will take to process your case please consult the information sent to you or call the Tribunal Office at: 505-831-8177. You may plan on it taking eighteen months (18) to complete your case.

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I have called the Tribunal Office many times inquiring about my case and I always get the same answer, “your case is in Father’s drawer waiting for the second evaluation.”

At any given time the Tribunal Office has approximately three hundred and fifty (350) cases open and in process. Cases are not heard in order of case number but on the order in which they are placed in the drawer for the second evaluation and/or final decision. Please be patient, you are not the only one waiting and your case will be heard as soon as possible.

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What is a libellus?

The libellus is the legal document required by the law of the church prior to beginning the process for declaring your marriage null. The libellus comes in the first packet you receive from the Tribunal Office once your case has been opened. You MUST return the libellus to our offices before work can begin on your case. No work can be done on your case until this document has been signed, witnessed and returned to our offices.

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My former spouse, called the Respondent, is hostile to the process declaring our marriage null. Can he/she stop or harm the process?

No, the Respondent cannot stop the process of declaring your marriage null. Though it is always preferable to have the most accurate picture of the marriage in question, if the Respondent refuses to participate the process will move forward in the interest of justice.

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I received a letter from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe Tribunal Office stating my declaration of nullity received an affirmative decision? Does this mean I can go forward with marriage plans immediately?

No, all affirmative decisions require an automatic appeal. The Appellate Court for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is the Diocese of Phoenix. Once you receive a letter of ratification from them you are free to marry provided no restrictions have been placed on your future marriage in the church.

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I just received a letter of ratification from the Diocese of Phoenix but they have informed me that I am restricted from future marriage in the church. What does this mean? What am I supposed to do?

The Catholic church allows for restrictions to be placed on both the Petitioner and the Respondent regarding future marriage in the church. This is to ensure that the same mistakes in choosing a lifetime partner are not made again. Your pastor must call the Tribunal Office to receive instructions as to what the restrictions are. Once the requirements have been fulfilled the restriction will be lifted and you may plan your marriage in the church.

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How long will I have to wait for my case(s) to be completed?

Generally, it takes about eighteen months (18) to complete a case. If you have more than one case to be heard they will be heard together.

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I have already made marriage plans, how much longer must I wait?

First of all, you were instructed from the beginning not to make an future marriage plans until you receive a letter from the second instance court stating your marriage is null. Second, your case will be heard in the order in which is was received (not by case number). Please be patient, you are not the only person waiting for a declaration of nullity. If you have made plans and your case has not been heard you may have to cancel those plans or get married civilly with a con validation taking place after your case has been completed.

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I don’t understand the grounds?

Explanation of Grounds

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Do I send the profession witness the questionnaire?

You were sent a copy of the release form for the professional witness you named. Please return the form to the Tribunal Office and the office staff will send the questionnaire.

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Why is it the rich always get their cases heard first?

Often people believe that a declaration of nullity can be bought. Be assured that no one is making additional money from any cases. The reality is that those people who are rich tend to get things done quickly because time is money. Those people who get their cases processed quickly are those people who read through all the information that is sent to them and return all of the information and documents requested on a timely basis. If you have received information you do not understand please call the Tribunal Office at 505-831-8177 immediately. You too can get your case done quickly if you choose to cooperate!

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Neither myself nor my former spouse were Catholic, why must I go through the process of declaring my marriage null?

The Catholic church teaches that marriage between all baptized Christians is a sacrament. Therefore, your marriage must be formally examined and declared null before you may marry again.

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Very Rev. Oscar Coelho, J.C.L.
Judicial Vicar
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Mr. Joseph Sinico
Office Manager
Phone: 505.831.8341
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Ms. Louellen Martinez
Notary
Phone: 505.831.8177
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Office Hours:
Monday through Friday
8:30 am - Noon
1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Phone: 505.831.8177
Fax: 505.831.8351

4000 Saint Joseph's Pl. NW
Albuquerque, NM
87120-1714