When your marriage is annulled, the court is deciding that the marriage never existed. Both parties are free to marry again without obtaining a divorce. Spousal support will not be awarded and the parties are giving up their rights to community property. Since annulments typically happen very early in a marriage, this is usually not a problem. Here are 5 conditions that may qualify you for an annulment.
1. Fraud or Misrepresentation Existed at the Time of the Marriage. If one of the marriage partners misrepresented facts or information to “trick” the other partner into marrying, this may be grounds for an annulment. Misrepresentation and or fraud could include things like not disclosing the inability to have children or not divulging that the party is not old enough for a legal marriage. Another reason might be when a person married solely to claim legal citizenship.
2. You had a Mock Marriage. While a valid marriage cannot be annulled, a “mock” marriage can be. This occurs when the parties never intended for the marriage to be binding and the marriage, thus, lacks legal intent. However, if the marriage was held for some specific reason, the court may consider it valid and not eligible for annulment.
3. There was Lack of Consent. This may happen when one of the partners does not have the mental capacity to agree to a marriage. Mental illness, a lack of mental capacity, insanity or temporary insanity could all be considered reason for lack of consent. If a person is intoxicated, drugged or under some other influence that made them unable to understand the legal consequences of entering a marriage, this may also be grounds for annulment.
4. The Marriage was Conducted Under Duress. A marriage that is performed under the threat of physical violence is eligible for annulment. A valid marriage requires voluntary consent so if one party has agreed to the marriage because of fear of harm, the marriage can be annulled.
5. One Party was Committing Bigamy or the Marriage is Incestuous. The laws of your state may preclude the marriage between the parent or grandparent and the child. Additionally, the marriage of a brother or sister (even a half-brother or half-sister) may be excluded along with the marriage between uncle and aunt and niece or nephew. In most cases, the marriage between first cousins is also considered incestuous. If one partner is already married to someone else, this is bigamy. Each of these is grounds for annulment.
Getting an annulment is a legal process and you want the advice of an experienced family law attorney. You need to decide whether an annulment is more appropriate and beneficial to you than a divorce. You also need the advice of the annulment or divorce attorney to know if an annulment is possible under the laws of your state. Many people want to get an annulment for religious reasons or, simply, because they feel the marriage never existed. Seek both legal advice and legal representation if you are considering an annulment or divorce.