How to Write a Letter for an Annulment

Witnesses must testify that the couple's marriage was invalid.

The Catholic Church does not believe in divorce, but under a few circumstances an annulment might be granted. An annulment nullifies the marriage, meaning that it never existed. To have grounds for an annulment, the couple must not have been able to enter a valid marriage because of a reason set forth by the church, such as being pressured to marry or the couple is closely related by blood. As part of the annulment process, the petitioner will ask for witnesses to testify that the couple's marriage was invalid. The witnesses usually make this testimony in a letter to the tribunal.

Read the annulment instructions, which will be mailed to you. The process is the same in each diocese for testifying about the petitioner's marriage, but some diocese will give you a form to fill out and others will ask for you to write a letter.

Type your address at the top of the letter, without your name. Skip a line. Type the date. Skip another line. Type the name of the person in charge of the tribunal, his title and his church office address. Skip this part if you are asked to write the letter longhand on the form because it will take up space.

Type the name and title of the person in charge of the tribunal, followed by his title. Skip a line space.

Begin the letter by identifying the petitioner and his spouse, and introduce yourself. Explain how you knew the couple and how long you knew them.

Discuss the couple's marriage and the grounds for annulment. Give specific examples of what you witnessed that lends credence to the petitioner's claims that the marriage was invalid, or, if you disagree with the petitioner that an annulment should be granted, explain why their marriage does not fulfill the grounds for annulment. Think of two or three pertinent examples, but try to keep the letter to two pages.

Thank the representative of the tribunal for his time, and give your contact information such as your address and telephone number. He may need this information later in case you are called to clarify your testimony.

Type or write "Respectfully," followed by your name. If you are typing the letter, leave several line spaces before you type your name and sign above your name in blue or black ink after you print the letter.

Make a copy of the letter and keep it for your records. Mail the original to the address listed on the form or the instructions.

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.