this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
-- Canon 1055
The tribunal is a diocesan office staffed by persons who have received special education and preparation and are appointed by the archbishop to represent him and the faith community in Church judicial proceedings for marriage cases and other matters of Church (canon) law. The tribunal serves both the Church community and individuals in the protection and defense of rights given in canon law.
Regarding marriages, the tribunal assists divorced people who petition for an investigation of their prior marriage(s). After gathering as much information as possible, the tribunal makes a human decision under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and for the benefit of the Church community regarding the status of the marriage bond. Either the marriage will be upheld as valid and binding, or it will be determined that no sacramental marriage bond existed due to certain conditions which render the marriage null.
Regardless of the final decision, the tribunal investigation process is an opportunity for participants to experience healing and reconciliation with God and the faith community. At times, the tribunal can also serve as a resource for answering other canonical questions.