What the Heck Is….A Series in Divorce Terms…What the Heck is Annulment??

Here we are again, looking up terms you may come across as you venture through the world of divorce.  Today let’s take a look at annulment.  I have heard the term annulment throughout my life.  I always assumed it meant that you could dissolve your marriage due to certain circumstances.  I always felt it needed to be done early in a marriage, but I had no idea.  So let’s try to answer the question…What the Heck is an Annulment?

Here is a definition I found on a legal site

Divorce ends a valid marriage, whereas an annulment is a court order declaring your marriage invalid. As far as the court is concerned since your marriage was void or voidable (wasn’t legal when it happened), once you get an annulment, you were never technically legally married at all. To get divorced in NC, you have to have been separated for a year, but you can file for an annulment at any time. Woodruff Family Law Group

Each state has its own set of laws regarding annulment. Not all of the conditions below apply to every state.

What conditions may allow you to seek an annulment?

*Incest-Incest is defined as a relationship between two blood relatives who would be banned from legal marriage in their state.

*Being Underage-Some states grant courts jurisdiction to annul marriages where one of the parties was a minor at the time of marriage.

*Mental Incapacity-One of the five legal grounds for an annulment is that one of the spouses “has been incurably mentally ill for a period of five years or more.” 

*Lack of consent-Lack of Consent: A marriage may be voidable if one party was forced into the marriage or lacked the mental capacity to provide informed consent, such as in cases involving mental illness, intoxication, or undue influence.

*Mental Illness-Mental illness can be grounds for invalidating that contract. If your spouse was not in control of themselves at the time you were married, or they did not reveal their condition to you before you wed, you may be able to seek an annulment.

*Religious Annulments-A religious annulment is similar in that it proclaims that a valid marriage never existed within the eyes of the Church.

*False Pretenses-“false pretenses,” meaning the husband and wife got married believing the wife was pregnant but then separated within 45 days of the marriage and no child was born within 10 months of the separation

*Concealment (hiding who you really are)-A judge may annul a marriage if one of the parties concealed information that would have caused the other person to have second thoughts about getting married. Examples of concealed information that often affect a marriage include, A spouse having a prior felony conviction. A spouse having a serious addiction.

*Bigamy-Bigamy is the act of going through a marriage ceremony while already married to another person. Polygamy is the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. In order to experience polygamy, you have to commit the act of bigamy.

*Inability to consummate the marriage.

There are many times a time limit associated with an annulment.  Remember that if you get an annulment, it is as if the marriage never happened, and there is no chance for alimony; at least, that is how I understand it.  Also, the rules vary from state to state.

Keep an eye out for the next “What The Heck Is…?

God Bless You on Your Journey