Fort Smith, Arkansas 

Family Life Director  Sandi Reiss  479-783-7745


A declaration of nullity (annulment) is not to be confused with a civil annulment. The formal term is “Decree of Nullity’ however ‘annulment’ has become the common phrase. Catholic annulment addresses the validity of consent (when the couple said "I do") from the church dimension, not the civil dimension. Despite heartfelt and good intentions, some people simply aren't able to live up to the vows they exchange, due perhaps to an addiction, severe immaturity, or some outside pressure such as an out of wedlock pregnancy. Some may have reserved the option of divorce even though they hoped it never happened. That reservation invalidates their "I do", changing it to "I do... only certain conditions".

An annulment is a declaration by a Church tribunal (a Catholic church court) that a marriage thought to be valid according to law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union. The annulment process is frequently misunderstood.

Church law regarding confidentially prevents open discussion about any case.  The records, which include the grounds on which the annulment was granted, are sealed.  This confidentiality is meant to protect the good name and reputation of all the parties involved. For more information please contact our Advocate, Sandi Reiss at or at 783-7745