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Marriage Annulment

couple fighting

A marriage annulment is a legal process whereby a marriage is dissolved and declared null and void. A divorce terminates a legally entered into marriage whereby an annulment is a court declaration that the marriage never existed. Both annulment and divorce cause the parties to return to single or unmarried status. Contrary to a popular myth, annulments are not reserved solely for marriages of shorter duration. In the U.S. each of the fifty states regulate marriage, divorce and annulment, and at least one party must meet the same residency requirements to file for an annulment as they would if they filed for a divorce. Marriages that get annulled are done so on grounds that fall into one of two categories: a void marriage or a voidable marriage.

Void Marriage - One in which one of the parties may invalidate the marriage. If annulled, the marriage is regarded as never having taken place, and is invalid from the start. Esentially, a void marriage had an impediment at the time the ceremony took place, and a decree of annulment declares that no lawful marriage had come into existence.

Voidable Marriage - On it's face it, the marriage is lawful until or unless one of the parties petitions the court during the lifetimes of both parties. but demonstrate that certain conditions existed during the marriage that made the union voidable.

Sometimes it makes sense to fill out the annulment forms and present them to your partner for signing rather than re-opening a big debate about it. Click on the annulment forms link, and begin the annulment process without further delay.

Grounds for Annulment

The couple was married fraudulently. This can be due to the concealment of a criminal history, impotence, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.

One of the parties didn't have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage contract. (i.e. due to drunkenness or mental disability - lack of awareness they were married).

  • A close blood relationship exists between the two (consanguinity).
  • One of the parties were married under duress, threat, or force.
  • One party was still legally married when the current marriage occurred (bigamy).
  • One or both parties were not old enough to be married.
  • One party was impotent and unable to consummate the marriage.

Consanguinity - Some U.S. states forbid cousins to be married. Others are more lenient and only forbid people to marry their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, or aunts and uncles. Consanguinity is a ground for annulment in most states.

Bigamy - Bigamy is the act or condition of a person married to another person while still being lawfully married to a third person.

Polygamy - Situation in which one man is either married to or involved in sexual relationships with a number of different women at one time, married or not.

Annulment Questions and Answers


Questions


1. We got married several months ago, and we both

accept that it was a mistake, and want out of the marriage. Which way is easiest and cheapest - divorce or an annulment? -Answer-

2. Is there a certain time limit in which an annulment must be approved? -Answer-

3. There's been so much preparation for my wedding that I can't back out now. Can I get an annulment right after the marriage? -Answer-

4. We've only been married 11 months but I need to end this marriage and get an annulment (I think). I heard I have to apply within one year. Is that right? -Answer-

5. Is there such a thing as 'pro se' with annulments like there is with divorce? -Answer-

6. Is there some way I can get an annulment for free? I can't afford any legal or filing fees for a divorce or any process. -Answer-

7. I filed for divorce last week and my new husband of 2 months just told me he filed for an annulment today. Which way does this go now? -Answer-

8. Can someone file for an annulment and have it go through without me? Isn't the notification process the same as a divorce? -Answer-

9. We've been married three years and now my wife wants an annulment. Can I contest it? -Answer-

10. My spouse is applying for a religious annulment so he can marry a girl in the Catholic Church. Can I contest it? -Answer-

11. My wife has been deported, and I want an annulment. Can I do this even though she's gone? -Answer-

12. My husband disappeared right after we got married, and I haven't seen him since. It's been almost four years. Can I get an annulment to this nightmare? I think he married me to stay in this country. -Answer-

13. I just found out my soon-to-be ex (who lied to me) is still married to another woman. Do I need a copy of that marriage certificate to get the marriage annuled? Will I stay married until he fixes this? -Answer-

14. I once got a marriage license with someone but never had a ceremony. Do I need an annulment to get married now? -Answer-

15. Can I get an annulment if he was using someone else's name? Answer

16. Can I still get an annulment if my wife divorces her first husband? I just found out she is still married to him, and now me. -Answer-

17. We fight all the time and have been married just 3 months. Can we get an annulment? -Answer-

18. I've been divorced 10 years from my ex, and now he wants an annulment. Why is that? -Answer-

19. Can anyone file for an annulment of our marriage? My ex mother in law claims she can? -Answer-

20. Is abuse grounds for annulment? -Answer-

 

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Concerned about how your kids will do during this difficult time? Give them continuity and a sense of security by using an online Parenting Plan they can access. With an online plan you can manage the calendar, change activities, and allow your ex to view upcoming events with or without the privilege to make changes. End the fights over the schedule. Put it online.

 

21. How is custody and child support affected by an annulment? Answer

22. Is abandonment grounds for an annulment? Answer

23. We celebrated our 5th anniversary recently, and then I found out he has concealed everything from me. Criminal history, arrest, bad debts, DUI's and more. Does this qualify for an annulment? Answer

24. Is infidelity grounds for an annulment? Answer

25. I was on some serious medications when I married my husband (Long story- emotional difficulties). Can I get an annulment now? Answer

26. Years ago when we got married my parents had to sign for me. Can I now go back and get my marriage annulled because I wasn't old enough to sign? Answer

27. I'm confused about what consummating the marriage means. We lived together with a full sex life for 5 years, but since the wedding ceremony there hasn't been any sex? Can I get an annulment? Answer

28. Does one have to wait until an annulment is final before they are free to marry again? Answer

29. My husband just admitted he married me to get a green card. I'm angry and want out. Can I get an annulment, and will this get him into trouble? Answer

30. My parents want me to get my marriage annulled but I don't want that. Can I remarry him after an annulment? Answer

31. My girlfriend got pregnant, and I felt enormous pressure to marry her, which I did this year. Does that pressure qualify me for an annulment? Answer

32. What does the term consanguinity mean? Answer

33. What is the definition of bigamy and how does it relate to annulments? Answer

34. My husband just found out his divorce was never finalized, and we have been married for years now. This is bigamy, right? Does this make our marriage null and void? Answer

35. Can a person go to prison for bigamy or consanguinity? Answer


Answers


1. Q. We got married several months ago, and we both accept that it was a mistake, and want out of the marriage. Which way is easiest and cheapest - divorce or an annulment?Top of Page↑  Top of Q&A

A. There's no way of knowing which end to your marriage is best for you without knowing more. You do need a specific ground to annul your marriage. Your best bet would be to look for local legal services that could steer you in an inexpensive and efficient manner.

2. Q. Is there a certain time limit in which an annulment must be approved?

A. Some states do set limits on how far into the marriage one can get before barring an annulment, In addition, many states look at how long a spouse has had knowledge 
that a condition existed before he or she filed. Check your individual state for details.Top of Page   Top of Q&A

3. Q. There's been so much preparation for my wedding that I can't back out now. Can I get an annulment right after the marriage?

A. The truth is that you should not go through with the marriage for many reasons. If you do go through with the marriage and still want it annulled, remember that you need grounds. Review this page to see if you qualify.

4. Q. We've only been married 11 months but I need to end this marriage and get am annulment (I think). I heard I have to apply within one year. Is that right?

A. That's a common misperception. Like the answer above, each state has its own rules on how long after the marriage you can file for an annulment. Also, you will find that the individual grounds for annulment often have their own time limitation in which to file. These are typically referred to as statutes of limitation. To begin with you should check the state page and review the annulment section by clicking on your state to the left.   Top of Page   Top of Q&A

5. Q. Is there such a thing as 'pro se' with annulments like there is with divorce?

A. You certainly can represent yourself, but like divorce, your best interests are served with sound legal advice. Even if its paying for advice by the hour, it would be best to go that way. The annulment process can be tricky and complex. You are expected to observe the same rules in court that lawyers do, so if you file yourself, do your homework.

6. Q. Is there some way I can get an annulment for free? I can't afford any legal or filing fees for a divorce or any process.

A. Not likely. Like any other legal process e.g. divorce before the court, there are filing and court fees. There may even be limited attorney fees if you hire one to guide you through the process. If you want to reverse your married status, there will be some discomfort.

7. Q. I filed for divorce last week and my new husband of 2 months just told me he filed for an annulment today. Which way does this go now?   Top of Page Top of Q&A 

A. One of you needs to request a dismissal of the other's petition, and if you and your spouse can't agree, one of the judges will decide. It's best to get a divorce lawyer's opinion on this though.

8. Q. Can someone file for an annulment and have it go through without me? Isn't the notification process the same as a divorce?

A. No, you must be notified by law. Any proceeding failing to notify you can be contested on that basis. You were married together. The legal system expects you both to participate in ending the marriage. There is a possibility that you could be divorced however. If your partner was unable to find you, and testified to a court that a proper search for you was done, and he or she put notice in newspapers, a divorce may have been completed.   Top of Page   Top of Q&A

9. Q. We've been married three years and now my wife wants an annulment. Can I contest it?

A. You certainly can contest the annulment request, but if your spouse has grounds and can prove them, the process can go through over your objections.

10. Q. My spouse is applying for a religious annulment so he can marry a girl in the Catholic Church. Can I contest it?

A. State laws require that he get a legal divorce first. Beyond that, a religious annulment is beyond the scope of this site, although our understanding is that to remarry in the Catholic Church and be able to receive sacraments, he'll need a religious annulment. Your best bet would be to speak to a Catholic priest or another church official.   Top of Page  Top of Q&A

11. Q. My wife has been deported, and I want an annulment. Can I do this even though she's gone?

A. Your problem is likely going to be an issue of whether you can adequately notify her in a timely way. Speak with an attorney familiar with annulments and international law.

12. Q. My husband disappeared right after we got married, and I haven't seen him since. It's been almost four years. Can I get an annulment to this nightmare? I think he married me to stay in this country.

A. Much like a missing spouse in a divorce case, you'll need to satisfy a court that you searched thoroughly for your spouse. You'll likely have to do service by publication where you put notification ads in newspapers. It's best to get a divorce lawyer's opinion on this though.

13. Q. I just found out my soon-to-be ex (who lied to me) is still married to another woman. Do I need a copy of that marriage certificate to get an annulment? Will I stay married until he fixes this?

A. You (or your attorney) can get a copy of his marriage certificate from the county he married in (Clerk of Courts in many cases). You do need to prove the other marriage to get your marriage annulled.   Top of Page   Top of Q&A

14. Q. I once got a marriage license with someone but never had a ceremony. Do I need an annulment to get married now?

A. If there was no ceremony, you never got married, and no need for an annulment. Good luck.

15. Q. Can I get an annulment if he was using someone else's name?

A. It certainly sounds like deception to one degree or another and is probable grounds for an annulment. See an attorney.

16. Q. Can I still get an annulment if my wife divorces her first husband? I just found out she is still married to him, and now me.

A. If you married her while still was still married, your marriage is void and no need for annulment.

17. Q. We fight all the time and have been married just 3 months. Can we get an annulment?   

A. In order to get your marriage annuled, you need to prove grounds for it, and fighting isn't one of them. Consider getting a divorce instead.    Top of Page Top of Q&A

18. Q. I've been divorced 10 years from my ex, and now he wants to annul our marriage. Why is that?

A. Is he Roman Catholic? We would assume he wants to remarry, and in the Catholic Church, you must first have an annulment. It's probable he's trying to get a legal annulment to assist him with a religious one. A legal annulment can help legitimize a religious one in the eyes of the church.

19. Q. Can anyone file for an annulment of our marriage. My ex mother in law claims she can?

A. Unless your ex has named someone else as his guardian because of some incompetency or has given others powers of attorney, your ex must represent himself.   Top of Page   Top of Q&A

20. Q. Is abuse grounds for annulment?

A. No. While abuse is very poor behavior, it is only grounds for divorce, although it is also illegal and shouldn't be tolerated.

21. Q. How is custody and child support affected by an annulment?

A. There is no difference or legal distinction between the two and how they relate to custody and support.

22. Q. Is abandonment grounds for an annulment?

A. No, they don't meet the annulments tests but do for a divorce. Consider going that way.   Top of Page Top of Q&A

23. Q. We celebrated our 5th anniversary recently, and then I found out he has concealed everything from me. Criminal history, arrest, bad debts, DUIs and more. Does this qualify for an annulment?

A. Yes, this certainly sounds like a case of fraud, or concealment. See an attorney for final advice. You should be able to get out with an annulment.

24. Q. Is infidelity grounds for an annulment?

A. No, infidelity may very well be grounds for a divorce though. See if you can save your marriage before divorcing.

25. Q. I was on some serious medications when I married my husband (Long story- emotional difficulties). Can I get an annulment now?

A. If you can prove that you married during a time that you were incapacitated, you likely can qualify for an annulment. See an attorney for specifics.    Top of Page   Top of Q&A

26. Q. Years ago when we got married my parents had to sign for me. Can I now go back and get my marriage annulled because I wasn't old enough to sign?

A. The answer will be that if you met all the requirements of your state to marry at that time, you wouldn't qualify for an annulment. It can't hurt to run it by a lawyer though.

27. Q. I'm confused about what consummating the marriage means. We lived together with a full sex life for 5 years, but since the wedding ceremony there hasn't been any sex? Can I get an annulment?

A. Your situation sounds like a situation requiring specific legal advice. Each state has its own annulment laws. Please consult with a lawyer.    Top of Page   Top of Q&A

28. Q. Does one have to wait until an annulment is final before they are free to marry again?

A. Yes, like a divorce you have to wait until it (annulment) is final, at which time you are single (although you might consider waiting awhile anyway). What's the rush?

29. Q. My husband just admitted he married me to get a green card. I'm angry and want out. Can I get an annulment, and will this get him into trouble?

A. Yes, it appears fraud is an issue here, so an annulment is likely to be awarded. He may well get into trouble as INS does track suspicious marriages.

30. Q. My parents want me to get my marriage annulled but I don't want that. Can I remarry him after an annulment?

A. It would be much simpler to just remain his wife, but we understand family pressures. You are free to marry anyone after an annulment.    Top of Page   Top of Q&A

31. Q. My girlfriend got pregnant, and I felt enormous pressure to marry her, which I did this year. Does that pressure qualify me for an annulment?

A. While that would be pressure, in the eyes of the law, you chose the decision to marry rather than being forced into it. No, you wouldn't have grounds for an annulment. Double-check with an attorney though.  

32. Q. What does the term consanguinity mean?

A. Consanguinity refers to a situation where someone married another person too closely related. Uncles, Aunt, nieces, nephews, first cousins and others fall into this category and are prohibited from marrying.

33. Q. What is the definition of bigamy and how does it relate to annulments?

A. Bigamy is the act or condition of a person marrying another person while still being lawfully married to a third person. It is prohibited in all states, and is grounds for annulment of a marriage.   Top of Page   Top of Q&A

34. Q. My husband just found out his divorce was never finalized, and we have been married for years now. This is bigamy, right? Does this make our marriage null and void?

A. Yes, it's bigamy. It's going to depend on your state laws. He certainly needs to get the previous marriage finalized and ended. In some states that will automatically make your marriage valid. This can get tricky, as many states operate by case law with annulments. We suggest you speak to a family law attorney.

35. Q. Can a person go to prison for bigamy or consanguinity?

A. Bigamy or consanguinity are against the law, so technically both actions could possibly carry with them some punishment. It's unlikely though, unless someone by these acts harmed another and can prove damages.   Top of Page Top of Q&A