For what seems the 100th time: an annulment is a declaration that a sacramental marraige never took place due to a defect in form or intent.
A while back, a beautiful Lutheran lady appeared on the TV program "60 minutes". She said that she was suing the Catholic Church for fraud and deception. She had married her Catholic husband in the Catholic Church about 15 years ago and she had agreed to all of the requirements laid down by the Church, including to bring up her children as Catholics. She faithfully observed and fulfilled all these requirements to the best of her ability including sending her children to Catholic schools, bringing them to Mass every Sunday, teaching them their Catholic prayers, even though she was a Lutheran. Everything was going just fine for 15 years. Then all of a sudden after 15 years, her husband started seeing a younger woman and was unfaithful to the marriage. He then said that he wanted an annulment so that he could marry the younger woman and receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church. He applied for the annulment, and the Catholic Church gave him his annulment. The Lutheran lady was furious that the Catholic Church had deceived her into believing that the ceremony that she went through at the Catholic Church was a marriage ceremony, when now, after fifteen years, the Catholic Church says they were never married in a Church blessed rite. But this is contrary to her Lutheran faith to live with a man for 15 years and not be living in a Church blessed marriage. For 15 years, the Church, the local priest and her husband never said anything about their marriage being invalid. There never was any question of defect of form or intent for 15 years, and the question would never had come up, except that her husband had suddenly been unfaithful to the marriage.
She said that annulments were dishonest on their face, and the honest way of dissolving a marriage was to simply declare a divorce. She could have accepted the idea that she was married with the blessing of the Church, but now it is time to get a divorce. A divorce would be all right in her eyes, because it would enable her to say that she had lived with a man, but with the blessing of the Church for 15 years. Now however, the Catholic Church says that they were never married in a Church ceremony, and it gives her husband the right to marry a younger woman and receive Holy Communion, all with the blessing of the Catholic Church and with the Catholic Church saying that this second marriage was truly the first Church marriage. This means that her character as a good Lutheran and Christian lady has been blackened by the declaration of the Catholic Church that she was living with a man for all this time, but she was not validly married to him.