Marriage Tribunal
Marriage Tribunal


Judicial Vicar
Very Rev. Daniel Moll, JCL
Adjunct Judicial Vicar
Very Rev. Timothy Ferguson, JCL, STL

Ecclesiastical Notaries
Valerie Bailey
Sheila Wickenheiser

Defenders of the Bond
Rev. Benedetto Paris, JCL
Rev. John Shiverski

Rev. Francis DeGroot
Rev. Michael Chenier
Rev. Bradley Sjoquist

The Marriage Tribunal
The Catholic Church believes that marriage is sacred and that it affects the family, society, and the Church.  Church Law states, “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.” (Canon 1055)  This forms the basis of the Court’s investigation.

Although not every marriage is a sacrament, each and every marriage  (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Non-believers, etc.) is presumed to be a valid marriage. This is why even a non-Catholic is required to obtain an annulment of a previous marriage if the non-Catholic wishes to marry in the Catholic Church.

Therefore, when it can be proven that a specific marriage is not a true marriage as the Church defines it, there is a possibility that the Church will dissolve it or declare it to be invalid.  This would happen only after conducting a thorough and careful investigation according to the law and jurisprudence of the Church.

Everyone has the right to apply for an investigation of his or her own former marriage.  The application is made to the Marriage Tribunal which has proper jurisdiction, i.e., usually the Tribunal in the diocese where the marriage in question took place, or in the diocese where either of the two parties currently live.

In the United States, Church annulments have no civil effects.  An annulment does not mean a marriage ceremony or relationship never existed.  Therefore, an annulment DOES NOT effect the legitimacy of children in Civil or in Church Law.

Bishop John Doerfler's Message on Declarations of Nullity: Reconciliation and Healing – A Pastoral Message on Declarations of Nullity
Diocese of Marquette ~ 1004 Harbor Hills Drive, Marquette, MI 49855-8851 ~ (906) 225-1141