A declaration of nullity affirms the fact that the sacred bond of marriage was not validly established at the wedding, according to Church teaching and Church law. In other words, the bond of marriage that was presumed to exist, does not, and is considered to be null. A civil union existed, but the sacred bond of marriage was not validly established. In order for a marriage to be properly established, there must be certain requirements present in the individual who consents to marriage at the time of the wedding. If any of these requirements are absent or seriously distorted, a review judge can declare that the act of consenting to marriage was made in an invalid way, therein indicating that the marriage bond has no effect and is null. Church law determines what these requirements are and they will be discussed throughout this information. In summary, a declaration of nullity does not break the marriage bond. A declaration of nullity declares that the marriage bond was never validly established at the time of consent according to Church teaching and Church law.
Marriage enjoys the favor of the law. Consequently, in doubt, the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven (Code of Canon Law, canon 1060).