I started working on my wedding photo album and all the memories of the painful annulment process is coming back. How could the Catholic Church that I grew up in treat me in such a way that I will never again be a member of their Church? I am still hurt by the entire ordeal.
They just did not care that my life was being put on hold while they delayed delayed delayed. I just looked and those people are still employed by the Church. I never did report to the priest or pastor or bishop about the painful delays the Diocese of Dallas Catholic Church put me through. I never wrote to them or called the heads of the church to let them know how their staff fails to complete annulments in a timely manner. I never brought to the bishop and let him know how I spent $400 on this annulment and was expect to spend even more when annulments are suppose to be free to complete. It wasn’t.
Looking back, I should have never let C., C., M., B., or A. make decisions about my life. I put my faith in these “Catholic” people and they let me down at every turn. B. was the worst as he is the Director and showed no care when I brought to him my concerns. He claims that he is reviewing the process, however I saw NO change. He didn’t even bother to inform me about such changes that were being made due to the concerns I brought to his attention. Has he made any changes? Most likely he did not. If he did, then I would love to know what changes were made to ensure the problems that I encountered will not happen to another “Catholic”.
Why did I let these people run my life for over a year? Never again. They were complete strangers. Now when I see their names, all the pain comes right back to me. These “Catholics” claim they are doing their best, but forgetting to file paperwork for over a month, failing to submit paperwork by deadlines, making excuses for a group of people not doing their jobs and saying that they are called to do this work. If you were really “called to do this mission”, then you would have a heart and make sure things are completed in a timely manner. It was not.
The Diocese of Dallas Tribunal office still is not computerized. Everything had to be sent via USPS mail. They lost the mail when it arrived at their office. They left completed witness questionnaires at the post office, who eventually returned it to sender because the mail was not picked up. The paperwork files had to be delivered to each “judge” who had 30 days to review the paperwork and make a decision. These files tended to get lost and unless the petitioner asked, the paperwork just sat there.
I spent over 30 years of my life believing in the Catholic Church. Then when I was ready to marry and the man happened to be divorced, I was denied the opportunity to marry in the Catholic Church. Cecilia told us this process would take less than a year. Well that was not the truth. It took over a year. Then I found out that I was going to have to wait an additional 6 months after the final step in the annulment. That meant I was waiting over two years. We wanted to start a family. I regret waiting to marry in the Church. I regret allowing these people to delay my marriage. I was waiting until marriage. Now we have been married and we have had one miscarriage. As I told those people at the Diocese Tribunal office, I wanted a family of my own. Waiting on the Tribunal office to make the annulment decision was the wrong decision for me. I might never have children because we waited too long. We waited, just as the “Catholic Church” expects of you. I dream of having a baby and know that because we waited on this annulment, I may never have a child of my own. Hindsight is 20/20. There is no way to go back in time. Hopefully, my experience will help the next person in my situation to know NOT to wait. Don’t allow a Church to postpone your marriage. I know it is a difficult decision, but I wish I had made that decision sooner. Maybe I would have a child of my own now if I didn’t wait. They put me through a painful engagement and now I go through the pain of a miscarriage and the pain of longing for a family. If only I could go back in time and get married right away.
My dream has been to get married in the Catholic Church. I waited over 30 years to find a husband. He happened to be a divorced man. He is a wonderful man and agreed to go through this painful annulment process just so that I could get married in the Catholic Church. He is even honoring my request to wait until marriage. Every man that I ever dated did not want or try to honor my request to wait until marriage. They had other ideas that made me not want to date them any more. Until my fiance came along. I told him right away when we started dating. And he was okay with it. Did I mention that I also want a family. I want little children running around our home. I want to be a MOM. But we are waiting until marriage. Why? Why should I even wait anymore? The Catholic Diocese Tribunal Office does not care that we want a family and that I am not getting any younger. I stress now about my clock ticking and the opportunity to have children is decreasing each month. The employees continue to cause further delays. The annulment process has now reached twice as long as it should have. The work that the employees have done could have been completed in half the time it has taken them so far. But they don’t care. They give excuse after excuse. They lie about timelines and have no desire to help you or do their job as a normal person would expect of an employee. I have even reached out to the Director and their response was to contact the advocate. Even the Director of the Tribunal office could care less that the employees are not completing their jobs to expectations. He needs to be replaced too. If you do not work to improve the office for which you direct, then you have failed us too.
Do you want to ruin your dreams and life goals, for example start a family, then get an annulment in my Catholic Diocese Tribunal office? They will show you lack of care for the people they serve. They will ignore your requests to get updates and make excuses of why they do not do their jobs. They will show you how unwelcome you are as a divorced person and how the Catholic Church really does not want you to be a part of their community. They will waste over a year of your life as they do nothing with your annulment paperwork.
Run, don’t stop, find another religion because the Catholic Tribunal office employees will hurt you every step of the way.
I am not sure how many more delays I can take. The Catholic Diocese Tribunal Office clearly has major flaws. They are not able to get things completed in 30 days. Does it really take more than 30 days to mail an official letter to the ex? I feel now looking back that it was God telling us to just get married outside of the church and seek a sacramental wedding later. But did I listen to God. Nope. No, I tried to stick to my faith and belief that this was just a human error and we would be back on track to have this annulment completed in about 6 months. See, our advocate verbally told us that each step takes 30 days and that we could have this completed in 6 months. This could only be completed in 6 months if we made sure that the ex and the witnesses were responsive and returned their forms in a timely manner. She stated that normally the witnesses do not respond and they hold up the process. Boy were we lied to by the advocate. Our witnesses made sure to answer all of the Tribunal’s questions in less than 14 days. Why did they get their questions answer so quickly? Because each of them knew that the Tribunal office had caused so many delays and that they knew how upset we had been with the entire process thus far. The people that have caused a delay at every step has been the staff at the Tribunal office. Every mistake has been caused by employees that work for the Church. I have been documenting every delay and the list keeps growing. Who should I share all of these errors with? Who oversees the Tribunal office and will actually make improvements? There needs to be some sort of checks and balances for this office as they have failed at every turn. Sending out a letter to the ex should not have taken as long as it did. If I made as many mistakes as this office has done, I would be out of a job. My boss would have never put up with such delays.
Sadly, I am not the only one that has experienced these delays by this particular Catholic Tribunal Office. I have heard so many stories now of the problems others have experienced from this same staff. Clearly, these problems persist and these employees continue to fail at their job. They are doing a great job at turning people away from the Catholic Church. Some people have heard of such a terrible job the Tribunal office does that they would never even consider an annulment. They have decided to just get married outside of the Church. That is what I should have done. I should have never waited for this annulment to be completed. I have wasted so much of my life waiting on this Tribunal Office to do their jobs that I now regret waiting. I was lied to by the advocate that this could be completed in 6 months and here were are way past the 6 months timeline. The advocate has made one excuse after another for the Tribunal office. I think the advocate needs to be honest with people seeking an annulment. The advocate needs to say that this will take over a year and recommend that people get married outside of the Church.
So if you are reading this and trying to decide if you should go through the annulment process, take my advice. Go and get married outside of the Church and file for an annulment. Once the annulment is completed, go and get a sacramental wedding. Don’t go through this pain and suffering that I have endured postponing my wedding for the annulment to be completed. Don’t miss out on becoming a husband or wife. Don’t miss out on starting a family while waiting for the annulment. Don’t let these unprofessional people who do not do their jobs cause heartache in your life.
I am upset today. Here I am again waiting on a staff member at the Catholic Diocese Tribunal office to do their job.
Dear Catholic Bishop,
Please hire a larger staff or a new staff for the Catholic Diocese Tribunal office. I am a member of a annulment support group and I hear day in and day out of people not being provided any information about their annulment. They have been waiting up to two years to get a response from the tribunal office. We advise each other to reach out to the advocate. The advocate tells us that they are working on it. No other information. What are they working on? How long will it be until a decision is made? What is the hold up? Can your office be more transparent in what you are doing? Tell us what step we are on. Tell us how long the step will take.
Those who have been divorced and those who wish to marry someone that has been divorced deserve a more transparent annulment process. We wait for the annulment decision to be made so that we can be married in the Catholic Church. All of our families and friends ask regularly when we will get married. We have been given suggestions by some that their church is welcoming and that we could have a religious marriage in their church without this long wait. Does the Catholic Church want the divorced members to find another religion that welcomes them without waiting two years for a decision?
I hope that the Bishop will consider stepping into the tribunal office and start helping out this failing office. Reform needs to occur and the errors need to be fixed sooner than later. Waiting another day equals another member of the Catholic Church leaving for another religion because of the lack of care and concern shown to them through the annulment process.
Waiting on the Tribunal
“Tribunal Time” is what my advocate calls the lack of meeting deadlines and the failure to do things in a timely manner. I guess after years of working with the Tribunal office staff on these annulments, she has come to know that they will never and I mean NEVER do things in a timely manner. She provided us with excuse after excuse and then told us about “Tribunal Time” as if that were a real thing. I feel that our advocate believes “Tribunal Time” to be a real thing in the real world. Seriously, do they have their own calendar that the rest of the world has never heard of. Please share with us common folk the Tribunal calendar so that we are more aware of your timeline and how this process is actually going to drag on forever because of your unprofessional lack of ability to do things in a timely manner.
It is incredibly unprofessional to not meet deadlines. In any other profession, one would soon be without a job after the many missed deadlines. But since we are on “Tribunal Time”, the deadlines mean absolutely nothing. For any other company that would fail to meet deadlines, I would quickly find another company to work with. Unfortunately, a Catholic has no other choice except to go to the Diocese Tribunal office for the annulment. If this was a roofing company that says that they will be here on Friday to repair the hole and they do not show up at all on Friday, then I would contact them to find out why they failed to repair the roof on Friday. Depending on the conversation, I might try to schedule with them again to come out and repair the roof. If once again, they fail to show up and repair the roof, then I might inquire again to find out what happened. Depending on the roof damage and the excuses the company gives me, I could go to another roofing company or stay with them. In the case of the Catholic Tribunal Office, I only have one choice. The diocese tribunal office is my one and only option. I am unable to shop around and find a professional company that will meet deadlines and complete the annulment process in a timely manner.
I wish that the Pope would set more required deadlines that must be meet by the Tribunal office employees. The fact that the staff at the Catholic Tribunal Office took almost two months to put the official letter notifying the ex about the annulment process is wrong and unprofessional. Two months to put a letter into the the mail is unacceptable in any other profession. All they had to do is fill in the name and address on the form letter, address the envelope and put it in the mail. Two months went by waiting for them to put a letter in the mail. This was just the beginning of our delays and this Catholic Diocesan Tribunal Office taking an exceedingly long time to get anything completed.
I beg of the staff at the Catholic Diocesan Tribunal Office to find a more efficient way to complete these steps in the annulment process. It is okay to get things completed in one week and meet deadlines. We, as the petitioner, would appreciate your service more if you would meet deadlines. I am positive that I am not the only one that has experienced these unprofessional failures to meet deadlines, otherwise our advocate would not have a made up name for it…..Tribunal Time.
The Catholic Tribunal office is one of the least efficient offices I have encountered in years.
So much of our waiting is for them to send some paperwork out to be filled out by someone. I wish when the paperwork is originally accepted by the tribunal to have a case, they would send out all of the paperwork on the same day. Instead, you have to wait 30 days for the ex-spouse to have their papers, then another 30 days if they do not respond. Then you are given additional forms to fill out, yet they are essentially the same questions on the original questionnaire with only about 5 new questions out of twenty. There are questions for your witnesses to fill out and again if they do not return within thirty days then you wait another 30 days again. And the counselor gets 30 days and when they do not turn in their papers, you get to wait again.
(Side vent: How can a professional Counselor fail to turn in official paperwork by the deadline? When you accept this type of side job, then please meet with the person and within 14 days submit your paperwork to the Catholic Tribunal office. Meeting with the professional Counselor and then they are too “busy” to type up their document within three weeks is just ridiculous.)
These months and months of pushing paperwork here and there could really be completed in two months. Here is what the person at the Tribunal office needs to do. First, create a checklist of documents that the Tribunal office will want to review when deciding if the marriage was valid. Our checklist thus far would include:
- letter and questions for the ex-spouse
- additional questionnaire for the petitioner focusing on the top three reasons that you are proposing as reasons for the invalid marriage
- Witness Questionnaires
- Questionnaires for the parents
- Character Witness Questionnaires
- Counselor Letter,Counselor appointment and Counselor documentation
Second, the person sends all of this paperwork out on the same day. Third, the Tribunal office employee sets a reminder on their calendar to review this file in 31 days to see if the checklist was completed. If not, they send out an email and/or put a letter in the mail reminding those who have not returned their paperwork that they have 30 additional days.
It just frustrates me to see how inefficient this office is. When you ask if they have put the next round of documents into the mail, they take their time to respond. Also, why are they putting everything in the postal mail. Our witnesses would have been more than willing to receive these papers via email. They could have typed up their responses and returned them much quicker.
I just do not see a reason for everything to be printed and mailed via the post office in this world of technology that we live in today. Dragging out the annulment process for paperwork pushing is a huge waste of our lives and delays to our future wedding. We have spent months in this inefficient investigation. I hope that the Catholic Tribunal Office will improve their process and speed up the paper format of investigation into the validity of the marriage.
We are constantly being put on hold when dealing with the annulment process.
You know when you call your cable company to complain about the internet not working. They put you on hold to look up your account. They try to tell you everything is working, yet you know something is not. You believe the cable guy and hope the internet will start working soon. You take his advice and turn off everything and reboot all electronics. A few days go by and yet again the internet is not working. Another call to the cable company. You are put on hold and transferred to another department. They run some diagnostics or so they say. Everything starts working again and so you hang up and are hopeful. Yet again, the internet fails just weeks later. Here we go again, calling the cable company. How many times am I going to fall for the cable companies tricks to get me to think they are trying to help me. After so many calls to the cable company in such a short time period, you look for another cable company. You cancel your service with the cable company that is unable to get the internet working and take your business to a new company that will respond to your concerns and want to keep you as a customer.
That is how I feel about dealing with the advocate and the tribunal office staff. They trick you into thinking they did something with your annulment case to quiet you and send you on your way. Yet weeks later, you find out no progress has been made and you are stuck waiting on the tribunal. You wish there was another company you could take your business or case to, however there is only one tribunal office in your diocese. You are stuck. Your only choice is to work with them on your nullity of marriage case. You must wait it out. Waiting on the tribunal is now a norm in my life. So here I am waiting on the Tribunal to make some progress in the case. Waiting for someone to make a decision if the first marriage was valid or not. Waiting to find out if we can marry in the Catholic Church or not. Waiting…..