What makes a marriage invalid?

Marriage is for people who are capable of making an adult commitment. Not everyone may be capable of assuming the essential rights and obligations of marriage and family life. Everyone knows that children are not capable of marriage. We also know that those who suffer from serious psychological illness are not likely able to commit to marriage. Certainly, other psychological dysfunctions may raise the issue of the capacity of an individual to enter marriage. If someone cannot hold a job, or assume ordinary personal responsibilities, or can not communicate adequately on an interpersonal adult level so as to share oneself with a spouse, then the capacity of that person for establishing a full and true marriage becomes questionable. Moreover, the commitment to marriage must be made freely (without outside pressure) and with serious forethought regarding the responsibilities that are assumed in marriage.

Today, some people enter unions with less consideration than they bring to purchasing an automobile! In our culture, we are very much aware of how addiction to substances (alcohol and drugs) plays a role in disrupting married life. If one is already addicted at the time of consent, a concern should be raised about the person's capacity to establish a true marriage. Also, such things as a "divorce mentality" and "hidden conditions" may come into play. If someone approaches marriage with the conviction that he or she can always "get out of it" if one chooses to do so, that may invalidate marriage consent. There are many other factors that could negatively affect consent. Deception, fraud, grave error, or force and fear, can also affect the validity of a marriage bond.

Please see Terms and Explanation of Grounds in Section 4 for further information