Randy and Gale (names changed to protect their privacy) offer this story of how one of our canonists helped their case:
When I met Randy, I wasn’t the “best” practicing Catholic and was unaware of the annulment process or that he’d be needing one. Both he and his divorced wife were non-denominational Christians and I figured, only Catholics who had a divorce would need an annulment. I legally married him and then proceeded to talk to my pastor who explained what we would need for him to marry us. My husband was in the Army at the time so we wrote to the military tribunal requesting information about annulments. Several months later, we received a bill requesting $50 down and $850 to proceed. No other information was present so I gave up considering Randy was beginning to process out into civilian life and I didn’t want to pay $1000 to a tribunal that wasn’t going to help us anyway.
We moved to a rural state shortly after, and I tried saving up the money that would pay for this mysterious process. But, saving money is tough when one is paying off debts and it started looking like this simply was never going to happen, that salvation for one’s sin came at too high a price and only the rich could be saved. I was talking to Therese Ivers about the whole situation and she very firmly told me to contact the diocese and ask about other options. She explained that the fees could be waived but I’d have to explain my situation. I was reluctant to get my hopes up but after she sent me the link to email the judicial vicar of the tribunal, I wrote him a short message asking if there was anything that could be done. I did not wait long for a response, ALL the fees were to be waived and the people working in the office were very encouraging to talk to the local advocate at our Church.
After Randy filed the paperwork to begin the annulment process, he received a request for VERY personal information about his past, his upbringing, and so on, attached with the demand he complete it within a week and return it. Randy, who is not Catholic, felt hurt and violated by the request for such information not knowing how it might be used. My husband’s “ex wife” who tends to be a very dramatic woman prone to telling stories about how she is treated unfairly by everyone around her was MORE than happy to answer the questionnaire. She called him and let him know that his reputation was ruined and put him in a panic. Would the Catholic Church ban him from admittance because of the bitterness of a woman bent on revenge? I called Therese who cheerfully reassured him that it doesn’t work like that, and that his reputation was fine. She explained that Canon lawyers help all kinds of people and this sort of thing is, sadly, not uncommon. They aren’t there to online casino real money judge the person, just the case.
Other problems arose with the paperwork. Therese called to check up on me sometime after all this and discovered a standstill and again FIRMLY pushed me to call the tribunal. So I did and the results were wonderful. The woman that I spoke to on the phone was married to a convert and understood the problems we were facing. She told me they had received his ex-wife’s answers but needed something from someone else who was familiar with the situation (another witness). So it actually turns out that because of Therese Ivers, we were able to navigate the process and when there were complications, she made herself available and helpful and we weren’t denied the help we needed to prove our case and receive the declaration of nullity.~ Randy and Gale, USA