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The Process for a 
Formal Nullity Case

Tribunal of the Catholic Church for New Zealand

A civil divorce must first be finalised before this process can begin. The Catholic Church always maintains hope for reconciliation within the marriage until a divorce decree shows that the marriage is legally dissolved.

The next step is to contact the Tribunal who will take some preliminary information and then offer you an appointment with a member of the Tribunal staff. The applicant is usually referred to as the Petitioner; the other party is referred to as the Respondent.

The initial step for the Petitioner is to complete the Declaration of Nullity Application Pack (downloadable here). All questions should be carefully answered. An incomplete application can delay the process. It is very important to supply current contact information for the Respondent. You will need to provide the last known address of your former spouse as the Tribunal is required by Church law to inform that person of this proceeding and give him/ her the opportunity to present his view of the marriage that was. At no time will you be required to meet with your former spouse. If he/ she refuses to participate in this investigation, the case can still continue.


The application is submitted to the Tribunal office along with the necessary civil and church documents. These requirements are outlined in the application pack. Please see the Application page for further information.


All material relative to the nullity process is treated confidentially as required by the Church's law. All information, including civil and/or church documents, gathered during this process is the exclusive and permanent property of the Tribunal of the Catholic Church for New Zealand. Only those who have a right to the information are permitted to review it for the purposes expressly stated in canon law and in accordance with civil laws. All are bound by oath to keep all information confidential, and to use it only for the express purpose of resolving the case.

Reasons for marriage, separation and divorce will differ in every individual case. The information provided in the Declaration of Nullity Application Pack allows Tribunal personnel to initially determine which nullity process is appropriate for the specific circumstances of each case. This will then help Tribunal personnel to more specifically and appropriately advise further details of the relevant processes to the parties to the application.

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