If you are looking to get a divorce from your spouse chances are you have seen the term annulment pop-up in your online research. You may be asking yourself, “What is an annulment and is it a viable option for me?”. We have broken down the particulars of a marriage annulment and the times in which an annulment is allowed by the courts.
What is a Marriage Annulment?
A marriage annulment is a legal procedure that essentially voids a marriage. Different from a divorce, annulments are retroactive. Meaning that, in the eyes of the laws, an annulled marriage never happened at all. Some states have modified this provision by stating that the marriage is void as of the date of the annulment, but did “exist” before that date. If children are a product of marriage, they are automatically considered legitimate despite the void status of marriage that produced them.
Legal annulments were first introduced when King Henry the Eighth of England had three of his six marriages annulled. Annulment was infamously used to avoid the execution of King Henry’s wife Ann Boleyn on the grounds that she seduced him with witchcraft!
Annulments have become much more practical in modern times.
When is Annulment a Viable Option?
The grounds for a legal annulment can vary from state to state. However, most states will follow a similar blueprint. Here are the commonalities that can be derived from most states annulment laws.
- If the spouses are legally unable to create a contract of marriage. For example if one spouse is under the legal age of majority or lacks the mental or physical ability to consent.
- The marital partners are related by blood.
- If either party was intoxicated when the marriage occurred or participated under duress, there could be grounds for marriage annulment. A humorous example of this type of annulment can be seen in the film, “What Happens in Vegas”
- If one partner misrepresented his or her religious affiliations or hid the existence of a prior marriage, grounds exist.
- Finally, if either partner refuses intercourse, the marriage could be annulled.
If you believe that you have grounds for a marriage annulment then give us a call today to schedule an appointment with our talented staff of family law attorneys.