Canonical court of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati; handles all marriage cases and other judicial procedures.
Rev. Christopher R. Armstrong, STD, JCDJudicial Vicar
Rev. Steve J, Angi, JCLAdjutant Judicial Vicar
How to BeGIN a Marriage Case
Where do I get the forms I need to present a case to the tribunal?
You begin by calling any Catholic parish and ask to meet with the one who handles marriage cases: a priest or a certified procurator/advocate trained to help you present a marriage case to the tribunal. That pastoral minister will talk with you about your situation, explain the tribunal process and help you figure out what kind of case you need to present and in which diocese it may be presented. Any of the priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati may serve as your procurator/advocate as well as any of the more than 120 lay people, religious and deacons who are specially trained for that ministry. Your procurator/advocate will give you the forms you will complete for the kind of case you need to present to the tribunal.
How do I know if I need to present a marriage case to the tribunal?
Anyone who has been married in any kind of ceremony (or who was in a common law marriage which was possible in Ohio until 10 October 1991) who wants to be free to consider future marriage in the Catholic Church or with a Catholic needs to present a case.
How do I know what to say?
As for what words to use, pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and then trust that the words will come. The question of when to begin a marriage case is a tough one. Again, pray. When your discernment feels like it is not advancing in any direction, perhaps that is when to bring it to a spiritual director.
Frequently Asked Questions
What civil documents will I need to submit with my case?
Along with the proper forms for the type of case you present, you will need to submit your marriage certificate. If possible, send the marriage license application which is available in Ohio and some other states. Include your divorce or dissolution decree. Those documents are obtained from the courthouse for the county in which you were married or divorced.
Will I need any documentation besides civil court forms?
If you or your spouse was ever baptized, you will need to offer what information you can about that including the date and place where you were baptized. From some churches, you will be able to obtain a baptismal certificate. There are certain kinds of cases only possible if there is proof that at least one of you was never baptized Christian or Catholic.
What if I was married and divorced more than one time?
It is possible to present more than one case for the same person. Your procurator/advocate will help you figure out what types of cases you need to present. You will need to gather the civil documents for each of your marriages.
What if I am not Catholic or I am not even a Christian? Do I need a case?
You need to present a case even if you are not Catholic if you have been previously married and you hope to marry a Catholic. You also need to present a case if you are considering becoming Catholic and you have been married before your current civil marriage. You could call the parish of your intended Catholic spouse or the parish where you are inquiring about the Catholic faith, the place where you may be considering joining the RCIA program (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and ask for assistance.
Basically, you need to sit down and talk about the details of your situation with someone who understands the tribunal process and is able to guide you through it beginning with deciding what kind(s) of case(s) you need to present. Begin by calling any Catholic parish and asking to meet with someone to help you prepare a marriage case for the tribunal.