EWTN Catholic Q&A
The right tribunal
Question from Joseph A. Apicella on 09-10-2012:

As a civil lawyer I have helped couples get a divorce. My friend who does the more complicated divorces took an introductory course in canon law and was amazed at the grounds and circumstances available in the jurisdiction. He thought they were quite liberal. This seems possible because I remember a well known Catholic who was told he could not get a divorce in one jurisdiction (A TV reporter asked an opinion of a priest-the actual coversation with the canon lawyer was confidential). The Catholic maintained residence in another jurisdiction and got the annulment. Will a knowledeable canon lawyer know how to pick the best forum? And in your experience are some jurisdictions tougher then others?

Answer by Robert J. Flummerfelt, J.C.L. on 09-10-2012:

Hi Joseph,

As with civil law, it is not appropriate to 'forum shop' so to speak, since tribunals are required to follow church law and apply Rotal jurisprudence to the evidence presented in a case. If the case has merit, it does not matter which tribunal hears and adjudicates the case.

I think the better way to think about it is a knowledgeable canon lawyer will know best how to properly and effectively evaluate the evidence in light of the law and jurisprudence to come to a decision consistent with truth.

Peace and blessings, Bob