The dignity of marriage, which between the baptized "is the image of and the participation in the covenant of love between Christ and the Church," demands that the Church with the greatest pastoral solicitude promote marriage and the family founded in marriage, and protect and defend them with all the means available. (Dignitas Connubii, Norms and Commentary, Klaus Lüdicke and Ronny E. Jenkins)
Whenever the validity of a marriage is in question, a judicial process to investigate the matter leading to a definitive judgement is done by the tribunal of a diocese.
A tribunal is established in each diocese by the bishop to assist him in carrying out his responsibility as shepherd of the local church. As the judicial arm of the bishop, the diocesan tribunal cooperates in the ministry of furthering the supreme law of the Church, the salvation of souls. (c. 1752; a.308) (Tribunal Handbook, Lawrence G. Price, et al.)