We better describe an annulment as a Declaration of Invalidity. It does not deny that a real relationship existed, nor does it imply that the parties entered the relationship with ill will or moral fault. The Church "Catholic annulment questions" saying that the relationship fell short of at least one element necccesary to bring about what the Catholic Catholic annulment questions understands as a true marriage.
If the evidence shows that a particular marriage is invalid i. To render a marriage invalid, the radical defect must be present from the beginning, i. No defect that might arise during the marriage would have the power of turning a valid marriage into an invalid one. When we can prove that a particular marriage was never valid in the first place, then the Church may declare it invalid.
For a wedding to bring about a true marriage it is necessary that the parties intend to have permanent, faithful and exclusive union. Both parties need to have a certain degree of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and duties being exchanged, the psychic capacity of assuming the essential obligations of matrimony. These essential rights and duties include the partnership of the whole of life and the good of the spouses. They also include the procreation and education of the children and the
Catholic annulment questions of the sacrament and specifically include self revelation, understanding and caring.
A Declaration of Invalidity has no civil effect in the United States. It does not affect in any manner the legitimacy of children, property rights, inheritance rights, names, etc.
The Catholic Church simply declares that a particular union, perhaps begun in good faith and thought to be a marriage, lacked some essential element necessary for an indissoluble covenant.