Divorced Catholics who wish to remarry in the Church must first be granted an annulment. By granting an annulment, a Church tribunal (a Catholic Church court) declares that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union.
The Essential Elements are:
- The spouses are free to marry
- They are capable of giving their consent to marry
- They freely exchange their consent
- In consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children
- They intend the good of each other
- Their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister