FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN THE CANONICAL PROCESS

Rights of the Petitioner

The person petitioning for a declaration of nullity has certain fundamental rights when it comes to canonical processes in the Church. These rights are specified in the Code of Canon Law and the instruction Dignitas Connubii. The first right someone has is the right to submit a petition and to have this petition evaluated in light of canon law. However, there is no such thing as a right to a declaration of nullity. A declaration of nullity will only be granted if the facts and proofs warrant such a declaration. The rights of the petitioner include:

  • The right to petition for a declaration of nullity;
  • The right to have an advocate;
  • The right to act on your own behalf;
  • The right to be notified at every step along this process;
  • The right to give input as to the reasons why the marriage should be considered invalid;
  • The right to know the names of the witnesses submitted by the respondent;
  • The right to raise reasoned objections against the witnesses or members of the tribunal;
  • The right to read the testimony of the respondent and witnesses;
  • The right to submit observations to the tribunal;
  • The right to be aware of the contents of the tribunal’s decision;
  • The right to appeal the tribunal’s decision.

Rights of the Respondent

The divorced spouse, also known as the respondent, has certain fundamental rights, as does the petitioner, when it comes to canonical processes. These rights are also specified in the Code of Canon Law and the instruction Dignitas Connubii. It is because the divorced spouse has these rights that we insist on having a valid address for the respondent. The respondent’s rights include:

  • The right to take part in the process;
  • The right to defend the validity of the marriage in question;
  • The right to be consulted by his or her own Judicial Vicar when consent to competence is needed;
  • The right to act on his or her own behalf;
  • The right to be notified about this process and to be notified at every step along this process;
  • The right to know the reasons why the marriage is alleged to be invalid, and to give input to the judge;
  • The right to have an advocate;
  • The right to submit witnesses;
  • The right to know the names of the witnesses submitted by the petitioner;
  • The right to raise reasoned objections against the witnesses or members of the tribunal;
  • The right to read the testimony of the petitioner and witnesses;
  • The right to submit observations to the tribunal;
  • The right to be aware of the contents of the tribunal’s decision;
  • The right to appeal the tribunal’s decision.
CONTACT US

Diocesan Tribunal
228 North Cascade Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
719-636-2345

tribunal@diocs.org