How does the tribunal arrive at a decision?

The review judge asks for information from both parties in the marriage under review. The information of witnesses and other documentary information is then gathered. Both parties can offer additional information up until a point in time that is determined by the review judge.

The procurator/advocate may then draw up a summary of their party's position on the matter at hand. In turn, the defender of the bond must draw up a similar statement in favor of the validity of the marriage. In certain cases the review judge may consult a psychological expert or other review judges to assist him in understanding the information. The review judge then studies the information and makes a decision. In summary, the final decision of the review judge is based on three criteria: the legal grounds as contained in the Code of Canon Law (i.e., ways of understanding the nullity); as understood by the judge(s) and the jurisprudence of the Vatican courts; in light of the information given to the tribunal (statements, declarations, depositions, documents, and reports submitted by the parties or professional counselors).

Once the process begins, it does not stop unless the petitioner formally withdraws the application or neglects to follow through on a request of the review judge. A withdrawn or abated application is considered inactive, awaiting renewed interest by either of the parties or new information.