Here’s my situation and I would love some input as to what I’m supposed to do from here. I am “civilly” married outside of the church. I am awaiting a decision from a Tribunal judge regarding my first marriage (we were married in the church). My current husband filed an annulment and provided witnesses, however he has only 1 witness return their statements, and the other 3 are not cooperating. My husband informed me that he’s not contacting or making anymore effort with this annulment, he’s also not providing anymore witness names to the Tribunal. He’s not Catholic and is not interested in converting.
I would love some input as to what I’m supposed to do with this whole situation? He’s forcing my hand to choose between the marriage or my faith. I won’t choose the marriage over my faith. There has to be something that can be done with an uncooperative spouse. Has anyone else dealt with this kind of situation?
Angela, the uncooperative spouse situation is not rare; we see it frequently.
There is still a chance that one witness will be sufficient for the tribunal to reach a verdict; this will depend on the specifics of your husband’s previous marriage and the grounds on which he applies for annulment. Speaking with a canon lawyer at the diocesan chancery office with a copy of your husband’s application in hand could help you assess the possibilities. (There would probably be a fee for such a consultation.) Nevertheless, even if you both receive your Decrees of Nullity for your previous marriages, the two of you would still be needing to convalidate (regularize) your current marriage, and this is another hurdle where an uncooperative spouse could halt the proceedings. Knowing your husband’s feelings about the convalidation ceremony can help you decide whether to continue your present course or look into other possibilities.
Fortunately, the Church’s canon law does provide another avenue, called Radical Sanation, which allows one of the spouses to apply unilaterally, and it does not require formal convalidation. Information regarding this possible avenue of regularizing a marriage may be obtained from your parish office or priest, or failing this, from the diocesan chancery office.