Someone I know got upset when I mentioned my annulment because she felt it was wrong that the Church required it and that the Church was somehow trying to fool God. I didn't know what to say, because I didn't have a deep understanding of it myself. I just told her that while I didn't care for the process, the Church has held the same process for thousands of years, and if I wanted my current marriage convalidated, then I had to get it done.
I came home and googled "annulments in the Catholic Church" and started reading.
I found this site which put it very plainly: Annulment says you were never truly married in the first place. Something necessary for a valid marriage was missing. Annulment is a matter of Church law.
Valid marriage. Were we married? In the court's eyes, yes. Validly, no. We were never married in Church, so it was invalid from the get go.
Thankfully, my annulment was actually quite easy. There are times when an annulment isn't granted and there are long form annulments that take a lot more time.
Also from the site: ...even Catholic annulment can't dissolve a valid marriage! Annulment simply says that a true, sacramental marriage was never created in the first place — it was never valid.
Did we still sin by marrying civilly and divorcing? Yes. Does the annulment take away that sin? No. My marriage needed to be ruled invalid before I could validate my current marriage. Which I should've done the right way and done all of this before I re-married, but the past is the past and we can only work with the mistakes we've made and make them better. So you know what? I do not have a problem with the annulment process. I see the need for it. I don't see any attempt at "fooling God" in there at all. Do I understand all of it? No, not completely. But I don't feel a need to anymore.
And, for those that aren't Catholic, I see how they can see it as unnecessary. Because most protestant or "Bible" churches don't have a hierarchy or "holy government," they fail to see any need for declarations such as annulments. I am thankful for the hierarchy because it does well to guide us. And if that means I have to jump through a few hoops, then that's fine with me. I'll deal with it, because I'm pretty sure an institution that's been studying these things for thousands of years know a heck of a lot more about it than I do. And I trust them.