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Judith Smithson wrote:

Hi, guys —

My husband of 25 years wants a divorce. He says if I file, then he can get an annulment through the Catholic Church and continue in full communion with the Church. I really don't want a divorce. I would prefer marriage counseling. He is not willing. He has closed our shared bank accounts and the kids educational IRAs. He has moved everything into his name only. He then began yelling, charging, and threatening us with his fists.

I had an emergency protective order and then a temporary one but I could not get a permanent protective order. He is now using the courts to harass the kids and me. He is still saying that if I divorce him, he will be able to gain his annulment through the Catholic Church, remain in full communion with the Church, and eventually gain Heaven. I just don't see this happening. It just doesn't seem logical.

I think I have a better chance of receiving an annulment. He isn't even supporting us and hasn't been supporting us for just over a year. He also says that if I divorce him, I can have the kids and he will help us out when we need it. He says there is no need for me to file for support, which again, I think is just bogus. That said:

  • Do I have to be Catholic to file for an annulment?
  • Do my husband and I have to be divorced?
  • Could I circumvent his annulment through the Catholic Church, by filing myself?


  { What should I do if my husband wants a divorce and an annulment but I want marriage counseling? }

Bob replied:

Judith —

I will pass the annulment questions on to our expert Fr. Jonathan, but in the very least, get a good attorney. I wouldn't make any agreements until you know the full legal implications of what you are doing.

Lastly, I don't know where you are in your faith but now is the time to turn to God and ask for guidance and strength for you and your children. He will not abandon you, for He loves you very much, even if this man doesn't.

Pray. If you know some formula prayers, use them, but if not, just open your heart to Him and He will listen. No one here can tell you if it is a good idea to fight for this marriage, but God can.

He can bring you peace when you seek clarity and peace will be with the decision to let go or resist; but let God lead you toward His Will and that's where peace is.

I will keep you in my prayers.


Bob Kirby

Judith replied:

Thank you Bob.

I dearly love Jesus and so do all six kids. I have worked very diligently teaching the kids.

We pray together every night and when ever we think we need to. We also do an in-house Bible Study and we even like Church.

Bless you! I am looking forward to a reply from Fr. Jonathan.

Thank you,

Judith Smithson

Fr. Jonathan replied:


  1. Get you and the children out of danger.
  2. Talk to a civil law attorney as Bob said.
  3. Even though you are not Catholic, talk to a priest. Call your local Catholic parish and ask for an appointment.

It makes no sense for him to say he needs a divorce so he can get an annulment and get to Heaven.

Fr. Jonathan

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