Marriage Information

The Tribunal in the Diocese of Phoenix processes all marriage permissions and dispensations, and prenuptial files for marriages of residents of the Diocese of Phoenix who will be married in another diocese. All residents of the Diocese of Phoenix are bound by the Marriage Preparation Policy, Covenant of Love. Regardless of the location of the wedding ceremony, a couple is bound to the marriage preparation policy of the diocese where one has domicile. For example, if a Catholic couple lives in the territory of the Diocese of Phoenix but will be married in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the couple is bound to follow the marriage preparation policy of the Diocese of Phoenix and NOT the policy of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Below is a detail of when you need to request permission or a dispensation.

Marriage Permissions / Dispensations

If a couple needs a permission or dispensation to enter a marriage, talk to the Marriage Minister or the Pastor of the parish where the preparation is taking place.

Below is a detail of when you need to request permission or a dispensation.

Permission:

  • Mixed marriage - a Catholic wishes to marry a baptized non-Catholic
  • Mixed marriage within Mass
  • Canon 1071, 3° prohibition that no wedding take place unless proved that the natural obligations regarding child support are being met
  • Marriage outside an approved place - this is when a Catholic deacon or priest will witness the vows of the couple, but the wedding will not take place within a parish church. THE DIOCESE OF PHOENIX DOES NOT ALLOW OUTDOOR WEDDINGS.

Dispensation:

  • Disparity of Cult - a Catholic wishes to marry an unbaptized person
  • The marriage of first cousins
  • The impediment of affinity
  • The impediment of crime
  • Canonical Form – this is when a couple does not want a Catholic wedding but wants their marriage by a rabbi, protestant minister, etc. to be recognized by the Catholic Church. This dispensation is NEVER given for two Catholics.

Prenuptial Files:

If a wedding of residents of the Diocese of Phoenix are getting married in another diocese, the couple must complete the marriage preparation of the Diocese of Phoenix and the prenuptial file must be sent to the Tribunal of the Diocese of Phoenix for transfer to the Diocesan offices of the diocese of the parish that will perform the marriage. This is required so that the parish where the marriage takes place is assured that the couple is free to marry and properly prepared for the Sacrament of Matrimony.

The prenuptial file CANNOT be transferred from parish to parish when the wedding is taking place outside of the Diocese of Phoenix. In addition, the couple CANNOT hand carry the file to the parish. If the file needs to be sent overseas or with special delivery, the shipping costs will be the responsibility of the couple who is getting married. In an emergency situation, in addition to sending the file overseas, the couple may hand carry a "photocopy" of their prenuptial file if desired.

It is requested that the Tribunal receive prenuptial files for weddings outside the diocese at least 30 days in advance for weddings within the United States, and at least 90 days for weddings outside the United States.

For marriages outside the United States, a civil marriage ceremony may need to be performed before the wedding in the Catholic Church. (If they are already in a civil union, they will just need to produce a copy of that certificate.) It is the responsibility of the couple to inquire as to the laws of the country they will be married in so that they civil effects of their marriage are attained. Please contact the Tribunal for more information to assist couples with planning their wedding in a foreign country.