The investigation is concerned with the facts which led the parties to give their consent to marry. Consequently, we need to hear from people (witnesses) who knew both parties, together or separately, during their dating, during their engagement and, for some couples, during the early years of their marriage.
Witnesses are a necessary element. The annulment process involves not only both former spouses but their respective relatives and friends whom they have asked to cooperate as witnesses in the process. These witnesses must be able to present known facts concerning the principal parties and the relationship of the parties to each other, and perhaps to their respective families and friends. They submit their testimony directly to the Tribunal, and may do so in person or by completing a questionnaire
This is a judicial process, not an administrative process.
Providing the evidence needed to prove a case is the responsibility of the Petitioner, not the Court.
Some Petitioners are often reluctant to have relatives and friends of former spouses as potential witnesses. Others may expect the Tribunal staff to elicit the cooperation of those witnesses who have failed to respond. We may sometimes hear “I don’t talk to them” or “I want nothing to do with them” or even the difficult to believe “I have no idea where they are.”
Many people do not want to be a witness because they feel they may have to ‘take sides’ in the process. However, as no blame is attributed to either party, no one is ever asked to testify against either party. What we need is to know the parties as well as possible, and that requires others to tell us about them either individually or, preferably, as a couple preparing and planning for marriage.
The investigation can not be concluded unless the entire marital situation is taken into consideration, and that would include input from the former spouse as well as from in-laws. Whether this evidence is from the Petitioner’s relatives and friends, or from the Respondent’s relatives and friends, it is the Petitioner who has the responsibility of eliciting the necessary cooperation of all parties. For this reason we need the input of relatives and friends, of each party, who knew them during the time of the courtship. Such witnesses would include members of the wedding party, especially the best man and maid of honor, as well as those invited to the wedding reception, those who attended the bridal shower or bachelor party, cousins, aunts, uncles, former classmates, and neighbors who lived next to either party during the courtship. Also, friends with whom you double-dated, and professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, counselors and therapists. They would have the option of submitting information by questionnaire or in person; they could also be afforded the opportunity of giving testimony by telephone.
A witness is any person who would be able to confirm, first hand, any of the testimony given as to why the marriage should be annulled.
Also, do not assume that people have nothing to say regarding relationships, or were not aware of yours. Without input from the relatives and/or friends of both parties, a case will not be strong enough to establish grounds. Remember that this is a judicial process and, as such, the decision will be based upon all the testimony and evidence that is presented. Thus the need for witnesses is crucial to the process.