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Pope Francis Changes Laws on Catholic Annulments

Catholics all around the world who wish to remarry without ‘living in sin’ got their wish when Pope Francis issued a new law simplifying the process of obtaining a religious annulment.

It is intended that under the new procedure religious annulments could be completed within 45 days.

The Catholic Church can grant an annulment when it is shown that from the beginning a marriage lacked one of the essential elements. The result of the annulment is that in the eyes of the Catholic Church the couple were never married. They can therefore remarry without being viewed by the Catholic Church as ‘living in sin’ and will still be allowed to take communion. Reasons an annulment might be granted include where one of the couple never wanted children or if the couple never intended the marriage to last.

If just one bishop is able to determine that a fundamental floor has been made in a marriage they will now be able to fast-track the annulment. The fast track is dependent on whether both spouses request (or at least don’t oppose) the annulment.

It will no longer be necessary to get approval from two Church tribunals for Catholics to get an annulment. So it is thought that it will become easier for Catholic couples to get their marriage annulled by proving the marriage was void from the start.

Without an annulment Catholics cannot get remarried in a Catholic Church, cannot receive Holy Communion and are considered adulterers if they were to divorce and remarry.

Catholicism teaches that marriage is a permanent union and as such the Catholic Church doesn’t recognise divorce. As such there are some couples who come to us from the Catholic Church seeking a Judicial Separation rather than a divorce. The process is very similar to divorce, with couples able to get a financial order to sort out their finances on separation. The main difference, other than not being divorced, is that there cannot be pension sharing in the way that there is in divorce.

Separation processes can differ in different religions. At Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK, we have experts in Jewish Divorce and Islamic Divorce. If you want to learn more about the differences read Jewish Divorce in England and Wales Explained.

If you are considering separating from your spouse or long-term partner Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer both flexible pricing and fixed fees for family law and divorce legal services. For an initial consultation call the Family Solicitors at Slater and Gordon UK on freephone 0800 916 9055 or alternatively contact us online and we will call you.

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