Role of the Office

The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau Ecclesiastical Tribunal is under the direction of the Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and is administered by his delegate, the Judicial Vicar. He, together with a staff of specially trained priests, religious, and lay persons is responsible for processing cases and assisting persons who formally request a declaration of nullity of their marriage. A judge, or at times three judges, studies the marriage and decides whether in fact the marriage can be declared null. The Tribunal also provides canonical advice to diocesan and parish administrators and processes judicial penal cases as necessary.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is, by God’s plan, an enduring and exclusive partnership between a man and a woman for the giving and receiving of love and the procreation and education of children.

The Church presumes that every marriage is a true and valid union. Therefore, all previous marriages of Catholics and those who wish to marry Catholics must be examined by the Tribunal before a person may be declared free to marry in the Catholic Church.

A Church annulment is a declaration by the Catholic Church in a particular diocese that a specific union, presumably begun in good faith, and thought by all to be a marriage, was, in fact, an invalid union according to the Catholic Church’s most recent teachings of sacramental theology and canon law.

There are absolutely no civil effects to a Church annulment in the United States. It does not affect in any manner the legitimacy of children, property rights, inheritance rights, change of names, adoption, child support requirements, or any other stipulation of the divorce settlement.

The most common type of case is the Ordinary (Formal) Case, which determines whether a marriage is invalid because of questions about the ability of the parties to give consent or the sufficiency of their consent at the time of the marriage. 

Other types are the Documentary Cases. These include Lack of Form and Prior Bond (Ligamen). The proofs in these cases are obtained almost entirely from official documents and are not so complex to resolve as a Formal Case. A Lack of Form case, generally speaking, deals with a Catholic party who married outside the Catholic Church without Church permission. A Prior Bond case involves a situation in which a petitioner marries a person who has been validly married before and whose marriage has not been ended by the death of the spouse, a decree of invalidity or a privilege before the subsequent union was entered. It is also called a Ligamen. 

The Dissolution Cases are the Pauline Privilege and the Privilege of the Faith (Petrine Privilege). A Pauline Privilege is a dissolution of a non-sacramental but valid marriage between two unbaptized persons. The petitioner seeks to be baptized and enter a new marriage in the Church. A Privilege of the Faith (Petrine Privilege) is granted by Papal authority and involves the dissolution of non-sacramental but valid marriage in which at least one of the parties was not baptized either before the wedding or during the entire common life of the marriage. The petitioner now wishes to become a Catholic, or marry a Catholic, or is a Catholic who now wishes to enter a sacramental marriage. Such a case is developed locally and sent to Rome.  

Marriage Tribunal updated application forms:

Tribunal Application for Lack of Form

Tribunal Application for Nullity of Marriage

How To Keep Your Case Moving

To learn more about annulments, click on the link below:

Ministers Assisting with Marriage Cases

To begin a Marriage Case, please first contact a priest or another Advocate at your local parish who is trained to assist you. Our Diocesan Ecclesiastical Tribunal staff is always glad to assist you with any questions you may have related to canon law and canonical processes at The Catholic Center in Springfield at (417) 866-0841 or through the email addresses below.
Our primary Tribunal staff include:

Tribunal Coordinator: Reverend Timothy Tran, CRM, JCL ([email protected])

Judicial Vicar:
Reverend Thomas Kiefer, JCL

Adjutant Judicial Vicar/Judge: Reverend Vincent Bertrand, JCL ([email protected])

Administrative Assistant: Sr. Veronica Do, CMR ([email protected])

El Ministerio del Tribunal Diocesano

El Tribunal Eclesiástico de la Diócesis de Springfield-Cape Girardeau está bajo la dirección del Obispo de Springfield-Cape Girardeau y es administrado por su delegado, el Vicario Judicial. Él, junto con un equipo de sacerdotes, religiosos y laicos especialmente capacitados, son responsables de procesar los casos y ayudar a las personas que solicitan formalmente una declaración de nulidad de su matrimonio. Un juez, o en ocasiones tres jueces, estudia el matrimonio y decide si, de hecho, el matrimonio puede ser declarado nulo. El Tribunal también brinda asesoramiento canónico a los administradores diocesanos y parroquiales, y procesa los casos judiciales penales según sea necesario.

Tipos de casos de matrimonio para personas divorciadas

El tipo de caso más común es el Caso Formal, que determina si un matrimonio es inválido debido a preguntas sobre la capacidad de las partes para dar su consentimiento o la suficiencia de su consentimiento en el momento del matrimonio.

Otros tipos son los Casos Documentales. Estos incluyen la falta de forma y vínculo previo (ligamen). Las pruebas en estos casos se obtienen casi en su totalidad de documentos oficiales y no son tan complejas de resolver como un Caso Formal. Un caso de falta de forma, en términos generales, se trata de una parte católica que se casó fuera de la Iglesia católica sin el permiso de la Iglesia. Un caso de Bono Previo involucra una situación en la que un peticionario se casa con una persona que ha estado válidamente casada antes y cuyo matrimonio no ha sido terminado por la muerte del cónyuge, un decreto de invalidez o un privilegio antes de que se estableciera la unión posterior. También se le llama Ligamen.

Los Casos de Disolución son el Privilegio Paulino y el Privilegio de la Fe (Privilegio Petrino). Un Privilegio Paulino es la disolución de un matrimonio no sacramental pero válido entre dos personas no bautizadas. El peticionario busca ser bautizado y entrar en un nuevo matrimonio en la Iglesia. Un Privilegio de la Fe (Privilegio Petrino) e implica la disolución de un matrimonio no sacramental pero válido en el que al menos una de las partes no fue bautizada ni antes de la boda ni durante toda la vida común del matrimonio. El peticionario ahora desea convertirse en católico o casarse con un católico, o es un católico que ahora desea contraer matrimonio sacramental. Tal caso se desarrolla localmente y se envía a Roma.

Ministros que ayudan con casos de matrimonio

Para comenzar un caso de matrimonio, comuníquese con un sacerdote u otro defensor en su parroquia local que esté capacitado para ayudarlo. Nuestro personal del Tribunal Eclesiástico Diocesano siempre estará encantado de ayudarlo con cualquier pregunta que pueda tener relacionada con el derecho canónico y los procesos canónicos en “The Catholic Center” de Springfield al (417) 866-0841 o a través de las direcciones de correo electrónico a continuación. Nuestro personal principal del Tribunal incluye:

Vicario Judicial: Reverendo Thomas Kiefer, JCL ([email protected])

Vicario Judicial Auxiliar/Juez: Reverendo Vincent Bertrand, JCL ([email protected])

Coordinador del Tribunal: Reverendo Timothy Tran, CRM, JCL ([email protected])

Asistente administrativa: Sr. Veronica Do, CMR ([email protected])

Formularios de solicitud actualizados del Tribunal matrimonial:

Solicitud del tribunal por falta de forma

Solicitud del tribunal de nulidad de matrimonio


Fr. Tom Kiefer

Fr. Tom Kiefer

Judicial Vicar

Fr. Timothy Tran, CRM, JCL

Fr. Timothy Tran, CRM, JCL

Defender of the Bond | [email protected]

Fr. Vince Bertrand, JCL

Fr. Vince Bertrand, JCL

Adjutant Judicial Vicar/Presiding Judge | [email protected]

Sr. Veronica Do, CMR

Sr. Veronica Do, CMR

Administrative Assistant | [email protected]