Pre-Marital Investigations

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  1. Current (up-to-date) baptismal and other sacramental certificates should be provided for all Catholic parties.  A birth or baptismal abstract should be provided by non-Catholic parties.  (By current, it is understood that the baptismal certificate should be dated within six months of the wedding date, with all notations included.)
  2. The pre-nuptial investigation must be conducted with all prospective brides and grooms.  The current Diocesan Form should be carefully completed no later than six months before the wedding date.
  3. Dispensations from the impediments of Affinity, Consanguinity, or Crime should be sought from the Tribunal Office.  Diocesan Forms are available for these petitions.
  4. In cases of mixed marriages (when a Catholic marries a baptized non-Catholic, with appropriate proof), the pastor/parochial administrator of the Catholic party can grant the appropriate permission (a special Diocesan form is to be used, and a copy of the permission is to be sent to the Tribunal Office).  In cases of Disparity of Cult, or Mixed Religion and Disparity of Cult “ad cautelam,” the appropriate dispensation must be secured from the Chancery/Tribunal Office of the Diocese of the Catholic party or, in necessity, from the local ordinary of the place where the marriage is to take place.
  5. Two testimonials of free status must be provided for non-Catholic persons arranging marriage.  Diocesan Forms are used for these testimonials.
  6. Extraordinary circumstances occasionally indicate the feasibility of requesting Dispensation from Place or from Canonical Form.  Diocesan forms are used in petitions for these cases.  The competent authority to grant a dispensation from Canonical Form is the local ordinary of the Catholic party (c. 1127, §2).  The competent authority to grant a dispensation from Place is the local ordinary (c. 1118, §§2-3).
  7. Inquiries about unusual marital circumstances, such as the presence of other impediments (cc. 1083-1094), should be directed to the Tribunal Office.  Sufficient time should always be allowed in cases of extraordinary permissions and dispensations.  Written correspondence (letters or e-mail) is always preferred to telephone use.