Prior Bond (Ligamen) Petition

Print out this page and follow these directions while completing the petition form.

Example:

Person A (Petitioner) wishes to be free to enter a Catholic marriage. However, Person A (Petitioner) was married and divorced from Person B (Respondent). Person B had been previously married to Person C (First spouse of Respondent). It was the first marriage for Person B and Person C, and Person C is still alive; the marriage of Person B and Person C is presumed valid. Therefore, the marriage of Person A and Person B is invalid because of the marriage of Person B and Person C

A. Person A (Petitioner) is to submit the following:

  1. A completed Prior Bond/Ligamen petition form.
  2. The marriage license for the marriage of Person A and Person B.
  3. The divorce decree which is signed and dated by the judge for Person A and Person B.
  4. The marriage license for the marriage of Person B and Person C.
  5. The divorce decree which is signed and dated by the judge for Person B and Person C.


B. As with all petitions the allegations must be substantiated through acceptable means. The cooperation of Person B and Person C is absolutely necessary in this process. Therefore, the following MUST be established from the testimony of both Person B and Person C whose testimony will be obtained by the Tribunal Office:

  1. That the marriage of Person B and Person C was the first marriage for both.
  2. That neither Person B nor Person C was baptized Catholic.
  3. That both Person B and Person C are still alive.
  4. That the Catholic Church did not grant a decree of nullity for Person B and Person C. 

 

C. The above states the simplest requirements to the process. However, the Prior Bond/Ligamen petition can be complicated. Following are some problems which will delay the processing of a prior Bond/Ligamen petition or which will require Person A (Petitioner) to file a Formal Church Petition for a Declaration of Nullity:

  1. A petition is lacking the required current address of Person B and Person C.
  2. Lack of cooperation from Person B and Person C.
  3. Missing documents. Although a marriage license and divorce decree are usually public records which can be obtained at the county courthouse where they are recorded, Person A may not know where the documents are recorded.
  4. Person B has more than one previous marriage.
  5. Person C was previously married.
  6. Person C is a baptized Catholic. If Person C is a baptized Catholic and did not marry Person B by the Catholic Church, then the marriage of Person B and Person C would not be considered valid. Thus, the marriage between Person A and B is valid.
  7. Person C is no longer living.

 

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