Divorce is not accepted in the Catholic church. The church believes that a couple should marry for life. However, the Catholic church does provide annulments for marriages that have serious issues or problems that are impossible to repair through counselling. To get a marriage annulled in the Catholic church, a couple must provide a reason for the annulment that meets the church's requirements.
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Physical or Psychological Incapabilities
A marriage can be annulled in the Catholic church if one or both parties are shown to be physically or psychologically incapable of performing the duties of marriage as seen by the Catholic church. These issues could be due to an inability to conceive, a mental incapacity or unrest and anxiety about the relationship from the beginning. The parties must meet with a parish priest, or other Catholic official, who will counsel the parties through the decision process. Ultimately, the priest must decide whether the objections are valid.
Absence of Intention
A couple can become annulled in the Catholic church if one or both parties in the marriage had an absence of intention before the marriage to perform the marriage duties. This might include, the intention to remain faithful, the intention to raise children, the intention to stay in the Catholic church or even the intention to remain in the marriage until death. The couple works with a priest to determine the validity of the request for annulment.
If a spouse finds out that the other spouse has a previous marriage that he or she did not know about, this is grounds for an annulment in the Catholic church. The Catholic church does not recognise marriages made before a previous marriage is annulled. So unless the spouse annuls the previous marriage, the second marriage is not valid and can be annulled. This annulment also applies to a spouse who may currently be married to more than one individual.
Lack of Discretion
Lack of discretion is probably the most arbitrary reason for getting an annulment in the Catholic church. The priest must decide if the reasons given by the couple are legitimate and serious enough to provide the annulment. Lack of discretion can include a wide range of issues, such as alcohol or drug abuse during the relationship, the lack of wisdom in marrying in the first place or even a deep-seated incompatibility between the couple.
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