For those who have been married and divorced, and who now wish to marry in the Catholic Church, the annulment process is the means by which they request that the Church examine the status of their prior marriage(s) and their freedom to marry in the Catholic Church. The Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Seattle, in accordance with canon law, is the court established by the Archbishop of Seattle to examine and adjudicate petitions for annulment.
“The Seattle Metropolitan Tribunal assists pastors and church ministers in their pastoral care of the married and divorced. The Tribunal, in accordance with the judicial and administrative procedures as required by the Code of Canon Law, examines prior marriages in order to clarify the parties’ marital status and determine their freedom to marry in the Catholic Church. In addition, the Tribunal provides advocate training to the parishes. The Judicial Vicar provides canonical resources and consultation to the archbishop, central agencies, parishes, and the Catholic faithful.” [Source: Archdiocese website]
“If you believe that you have grounds for invalidity or dissolution of your marriage under the laws of the Roman Catholic Church, your first point of contact would be your local parish or a parish which you find convenient. We encourage you to make an appointment with a parish minister (Advocate) trained and delegated to assist with the preparation of marriage cases. You will be asked to tell your story to the Advocate, focusing on your religious and family background, the events and circumstances that led to your decision to marry, the wedding, and your married life. The Advocate will listen, help clarify the key issues, determine what type of case you have, and assist with procedural and jurisdiction questions. If it appears that the basis for a case exists, you will receive forms appropriate to the type of case you have. You are the Petitioner in the case(s); your former spouse(s) is/are the Respondent(s).
If you have more than one previous marriage, each must be addressed individually. The circumstances of each marriage will determine the type of case that applies to each individual marriage.” [Source: Archdiocese website]
For more information see: http://www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Tribunal/Faqs.aspx
During the past year, in accordance with direction from Pope Francis, some significant changes have been made to the annulment process. One of those changes is that fees are now waived for all annulments except for a special (rare) type of case, which must be submitted to Rome. Parish advocates have current information on these changes.
There are currently two advocates appointed to serve St Anthony Parish: Jim Doherty and Dulce Casanova.
The parish policy on annulments can be found here.