Definition of a Declaration of Invalidity by a Catholic Tribunal
A declaration of invalidity by a tribunal of the Catholic Church is a pronouncement based on Catholic Church law and Catholic doctrine that the act of consent of a particular man and woman was lacking in qualities essential for a true and valid marriage to come into existence. To make such a pronouncement, Church law is applied to the facts surrounding the marriage in question. After both parties are heard, witnesses have testified, and the defender of the bond has offered comments, the decision is made by a panel of three judges or in some cases a single judge. If the decision is reached that the act of consent in question was lacking or defective in some essential way, the tribunal acknowledges that fact by issuing a declaration of invalidity.