An annulment (decree of nullity) is a declaration by the Church that a marriage is not considered binding for life. This does not mean that the parties are free of the continuing obligations of the union such as the welfare of children. An annulment does not deny that there was a wedding ceremony or erase the relationship that existed. Nor does it make any comment on any moral fault in the parties. Rather, a decree of nullity is a declaration by the Church that, at the time the couple attempted to exchange wedding vows, an essential element was lacking in the consent of at least one of them and thus the union which followed such a consent is not considered to be an obstacle to either party remarrying in the Catholic Church.