Abp. Aymond: No fees for annulment process

Archbishop Gregory Aymond has written the following letter about the annulment process in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. No fees will be charged for the annulment process.

Chirograph: The Elimination of Tribunal Fees

Dear Clergy, Religious, and Laity of the Archdiocese of New Orleans:

On September 8, 2015, Pope Francis announced New Procedures (“Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus”) for the declaration of marriage nullity, effective December 8, 2015.

The New Procedures state, among other things, that while the cost of processing a petition for a declaration of marriage nullity should be free, tribunals, however, are free to charge administrative fees.

Here in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, we have been requiring the payment of administrative fees only. For example, while it costs an average of $2,000 to cover the entire cost of processing a formal case, we have been suggesting the payment of $500 to cover administrative costs only.

Nonetheless, in the spirit of the New Procedures, I have decided, after appropriate consultation, to eliminate all Tribunal fees associated with processing any petition for the declaration of marriage nullity or for the dissolution of marriage bond, effective November 9, 2015.

The following prescripts are to be observed:

Any fee which is owed to the Tribunal is canceled, effective November 9, 2015. That is, if a party owes the Tribunal any unpaid fees, the party will no longer be required to make the payment to the Tribunal, effective November 9, 2015. Any new cases submitted to the Tribunal will be processed free of charge, effective November 9, 2015. The cancellation of fees does not guarantee an affirmative decision; nonetheless, mandatory payment will no longer be required, effective November 9, 2015.

This cancellation of tribunal fees pertains to Lack of Form, Prior Bond, Pauline Privilege, Petrine Privilege, and Formal Cases Petitions. The Archdiocese of New Orleans will absorb the costs associated with any of these Petitions.

A party who wishes to appeal any decisions rendered by the Archbishop of New Orleans or by the Metropolitan Tribunal of New Orleans will
bear the cost of the appeal.

Although tribunal fees have been canceled, nonetheless, the faithful are encouraged to make freewill donations to the Archdiocese of New Orleans to help offset the costs of processing petitions. Such free will donations are to be made to the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the check mailed to the Tribunal. The donation will be acknowledged by the Tribunal.

The Tribunal forms on our archdiocesan website have been updated to reflect not only the cancellation of tribunal fees but also to reflect the new canonical procedures for the declaration of marriage nullity. Please, use the new forms in sending cases to the Tribunal.

Fees paid prior to November 9, 2015 will not be refunded.

I have decided to eliminate the fees before the New Procedures take effect in order to ensure that those who consider some of the tribunal fees burdensome will not withhold their case anymore, but will be encouraged to submit their case to the Tribunal for consideration. I am grateful to the Tribunal officials who have been resolving cases in a timely fashion.

For more information, kindly contact the Metropolitan Tribunal of New Orleans at (504) 861-6291.

Given at the Office of the Archbishop of New Orleans, Louisiana, on this day: October 28, 2015, Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles.

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