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understanding grounds for annulment
Question from Debra on 11/26/2011:

Hello I am wondering if I have grounds for annulment. I am really not interested in it but maybe someday I would be...For now I have decided to live a live totally dedicated to the Lord and prayer. My husband of over 35 years left me. He had become an atheist, very aggresive and hostile about it and increasinly so. He said that he and I had grown apart, me being religious and that he could not stand religion (was a former Catholic and altar boy) He also since the time we were married as far as I am concerned did not understand the vow of in sickness and in health...I have not been a healthy person and he hated that and while I am getting over cancer it took to long and inconvienced him...This was a common theme our whole married life about my health leading me to believe he did not understand the vows...Also I equate becoming an atheist and a hateful one just as bad as adultery. He has broken the whole family apart and spoken about his atheism to our older sons, another violation of what I believe to be our word on raising our children in the Catholic Faith...Just interested in what you have to say. I have tried to hold this marriage together to my utmost and I do not deny that I had my own faults along the way...giving up was not one of them...Thank You...Debra

Answer by Robert J. Flummerfelt, J.C.L. on 9/10/2012:

Sincere apologies for just responding now.

First off, I am very sorry to hear about this and your husband becomign an atheist after a marraige so long. From what you wrote, it is not clear if there are grounds for an annulment and I do not say that to make you unsettled. Rather, I simply say that based on the evidence you gave to me here. Furthermore, know that if there is any possibility of reconciliation, that is always what we encourage first and foremost. Nevertheless, if the common life ends and a party seeks a divorce, then you may seek from a Church tribunal clarification as to the validity of your union. The presumption of law is that in fact the union is valid and only until and unless there is probative evidence which induces the Judge to be morally certain that the union was in fact invalid from the moment of consent can a declaration of invalidity be concluded by the competence tribunal.

Peace and blessings, Bob

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