How can the Church declare a marriage invalid, when it lasted many years and produced children?

In order for a valid bond of marriage to be established, there must be a true partnership of permanence and fidelity that is open to the generation and education of children. The fact that a marriage lasted many years and produced children is not absolute proof that all the requirements for a valid marriage bond were met at the time of the wedding. It should not come as a surprise that people get trapped in severely destructive patterns of behavior that cause them to stay in marriages. In some cases, one of the spouses knows that he or she will not be able to survive financially if they leave the marriage.

There are still others that fear an unfavorable reaction from family and friends, and consequently deal with abhorrently abusive situations. Still others stay in the marriage "for the sake of the children." There are always significant reasons why a review judge comes to a decision regarding the nullity of a marriage. From the perspective of those not involved in the case, the benefit of any doubt must always be given to the competence of the review judge, who through the confidence of the Archbishop of Detroit, continues this important ministry and service to the Church.