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A Guide to writing a Summary Statement
A written petition is presented by the one wishing to initiate an examination of their marriage for possible invalidity. Keep in mind a marriage depends on the consent both parties gave to marriage. The story of the relationship before your marriage, of the commitment made, and of your married life is most helpful in the Judge’s discerning if invalidity may exist. A summary of one to three pages is normally sufficient. Your summary should include information about your dating period, your marital consent, your wedding, your married life and the separation.
Use the following questions under each heading to help you write your summary.
A. DATING PERIOD
When and where did you meet your former spouse? What were the circumstances?
How harmonious was this dating period? What were the problems? Were there any break-ups?
How long did you date each other before you got engaged? How was the decision to marry made? During your engagement, were there any break-ups or other major problems that affected the relationship?
How did your families feel about your plans to marry? If there were objections, who made them and why?
Did either of you feel pressured to marry? If so, who or what was pressuring you and how? Please explain.
B. YOUR MARITAL CONSENT
Before you were married, what were your plans about raising a family? Did you decide not to have children?
If you agreed to wait to have children, was this essential to your agreement to marry? Why?
Did either of you hide anything about yourselves from the other to make sure that the wedding would take place? If so, what was hidden? Did it become a problem during the marriage? Please explain.
Did either of you set any conditions for the marriage to take place? If so, what was the condition, and who set it? Did the continuation of the union depend on this?
C. THE WEDDING
Did either of you have any serious doubts about going through with the wedding, if so, why?
Had either of you been drinking or using any kind of drugs prior to the wedding ceremony, if so, how much?
D. THE SEPARATION
What caused the final separation? Who left? Were there any other separations prior to the final one?