Click to jump to: Decree of Invalidity - Basic Information - Forms - Schedule of Fees
A Guide to Writing a Summary Statement
Form C: Formal Case (updated February 2022)
Advocate's Notes Regarding the Petitioner (to be submitted by the Parish Advocate with a Formal Case)
Lack of Form (updated December 2018)
Ligamen Form (updated March 2017)
- English: PDF
Pauline Privilege Form (updated March 2018)
- Download: Conditions for the Application of the Pauline Privilege
- English: PDF
Affidavit of Diligent Search
The address of a Respondent is required when submitting a Formal case to the Tribunal. The Affidavit of Diligent Search is to be completed by the Petitioner and submitted with a Formal case when the Petitioner does not have the address of the Respondent. This Affidavit shows the 'due diligence' exercised by the Petitioner in trying to locate the Respondent.
Witness Affidavit regarding Baptismal Status
The affidavit may only be used if written verification is received that the parish has no record of the baptism. Two witnesses - who were present at the baptism - are required. Each witness must complete the form at their Catholic parish in the presence of the pastor (or his delegate) who signs and dates the affidavit after verifying the witnesses' identification. If the form is completed outside the Diocese, it must be verified by the Tribunal in the diocese in which the form was completed. It is then sent to the Tribunal in Sacramento which forwards it to the individual. The original documents are given to the individual. The affidavits are used in lieu of a baptismal certificate. No information may be entered into the sacramental registry from an affidavit. Questions? Contact the Tribunal: TribunalDept@scd.org or 916-733-0225.
Decree of Invalidity
Annulments…A Time for Healing & Reconciliation
The Historical Origins of Tribunals
Since the first century Christians have submitted their disputes to the adjudication of the local Bishop as leader of the believing community. A system of ecclesiastical courts or Church tribunals gradually evolved and was established to deal with cases touching on the rights, obligations and concerns of members of the Church. The substantive law and procedure to be used in ecclesiastical cases in our modern era is set out comprehensively in the CODE OF CANON LAW, promulgated by Papal authority in 1983. A copy of the CODE is available in your local public library, or online at the Vatican web site.
The most common kind of formal controversy in modern Church life is that which arises when one party to a Christian marriage challenges the validity of that union and files a complaint of nullity before an ecclesiastical tribunal. The intention behind the Petitioner’s suit is that the same Church authority which pronounced the couple husband and wife on the day of their exchange of wedding vows will now permit the plaintiff to present evidence questioning the validity of the union
Church Law obliges the Tribunal to determine as soon as possible whether there are indeed solid grounds for the formal acceptance of the plaint of nullity. Secondly, the other party to the marriage, the Respondent, must be informed when the Tribunal intends to accept a case and must be invited to give whatever evidence he or she may wish to present. Unlike a civil tribunal, a Church court has no power of “sub poena” to coerce persons to appear. Moreover, because of the delicacy of the subject matter under review, people are interviewed either by questionnaire, by phone or individually and under oath in a confidential setting. Each party or witness is asked to describe the relationship as he or she experienced it.
Marriage enjoys the favor of Church Law and it is presumed that any marriage solemnized according to the outward and visible form required by the Church is, in fact, valid. Before a marriage takes place the parties are questioned as to whether or not they accept the Church’s teaching on marriage, whether they intend to enter marriage freely and without reservation, and whether they are aware of any impediment to the marriage taking place. It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that a marriage, which is entered into validly, is indissoluble and cannot be dismantled either by the parties themselves or any external authority. Accordingly, the person challenging the validity of a marriage bears the onus of demonstrating his or her conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
Very Reverend J. Vincent Kerr, JCD, DIOCESE OF HAMILTON
Schedule of Fees
|Pastors or Parish Advocates may request a waiver of fees if the Petitioner is unable to pay. Contact Cheryl Tholcke at (916) 733-0231 or firstname.lastname@example.org. No one is turned away due to lack of funds.|
The fee includes a non-refundable $150 registration fee paid when the case is submitted to the Tribunal. This fee covers the cost of the case regardless of the outcome (affirmative, negative, abated/closed, or renounced). If a case is closed or renounced before a decision is rendered, a new fee will be assessed if/when a new case is opened.
|Additional formal case(s) for the same person (includes the $150 non-refundable registration fee)||$450|
|If a psychological expert is required for your case, an additional fee is required.|
Favor of the Faith Case
|This fee includes a non-refundable $550 taxa paid to the Holy See.|
|Defect of Form||$175|
|Lack of Form||$50|
|Sanatio in Radice||$25|
Postage fees for international mail or expedited mail will be charged to the parish.
|Dispensation from Canonical Form||$25|
|Dispensation from Disparity of Cult||$10|
|Permission for Marriage of Mixed Religion||$10|
Method(s) of Payment
Check, cash, or money order (we are unable to accept debit or credit cards).
After the initial deposit ($150) is made for a formal case, Petitioners may pay their balance at their own rate. They will receive periodic statements reflecting amount paid and amount due. Full payment is expected by the time the case is completed, regardless of outcome.