The staff of the Diocesan Tribunal of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces offers this information to the faithful of the Diocese whose marriages have ended, and who feel that those marriages were never true and valid unions in the eyes of God. It is our hope that this information will dispel many of the common misconceptions about annulments and the nullity process.
What is marriage?
The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is, by God's plan, a covenant between a man and a woman, which establishes an exclusive and lifelong partnership for the giving and receiving of love and the procreation and nurturing of children.
A marriage comes into being when the bride and the groom exchange their consent to marriage through the wedding vows, in the presence of a priest and two witnesses.
For those who have been baptized, a valid marriage is also considered to be a sacrament. Although not every marriage is a sacrament, every marriage, including a marriage between two non-Catholics, whether baptized or not, is presumed to be a valid and binding union.