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Code of Canon Law
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Can. 1686 A marriage can be declared invalid on the basis of a document which proves with certainty the existence of a diriment impediment a defect of lawful form or the lack of a valid proxy mandate; the document must not be open to any contradiction or exception. It must be equally certain that no dispensation has been given. When a petition in accordance with can. 1677 has been received alleging such invalidity, the judicial Vicar, or a judge designated by him, can omit the formalities of the ordinary procedure and, having summoned the parties, and with the intervention of the defender of the bond, declare the nullity of the marriage by a judgement.
Can. 1687 §1 If the defender of the bond prudently judges that the defects mentioned in can. 1686, or the lack of dispensation, are not certain, he must appeal to the judge of second instance. The acts must be sent to the appeal judge and he is to be informed in writing that it is a documentary process.
Can. 1688 The judge of second instance, with the intervention of the defender of the bond and after consulting the parties, is to decide in the same way as in can. 1686 whether the judgement is to be ratified, or whether the case should rather proceed according to the ordinary course of law, in which event he is to send the case back to the tribunal of first instance.
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