Alabama Divorce Guide


The process of annulment is, for the most part, based on case law (much like alimony is in many states). Most annulments walk a line of fraud that goes to the essence of the relationship. 

Conditions or grounds that would justify filing for an annulment in this state:

To be granted an annulment of marriage in Alabama, one needs to claim appropriate grounds and provide proof that a specific situation or

  • Fraud and Duress – Fraud would be your partner misrepresenting something important to you or cheating you somehow, duress would be if your spouse forced or threatened you to get married
  • Underage marriage – Either you or your mate were under 14 at the time of marriage. That would be considered null and void under state laws
  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs – If either of you were under the influence when the ceremony took place, that would qualify for a marriage, the influence when the ceremony took place, that would qualify for an annulment
  • Bigamy, or the existence of a prior marriage – If you or your mate had another legal marriage going at the time of your marriage, courts would likely issue an annulment
  • Impotency – If either of the spouses cannot consummate the marriage, the marriage is considered void
  • Incest or Consanguinity – Consanguinity is marrying someone too closely related by blood. A petition for annulment is considered if the marriage took place between close relatives like, father, mother, nephew, sister, uncle or aunt, which violates laws governing annulments in Alabama. If you have married any such relative, you can get an annulment.

Courts in this state have the ability to declare a marriage null even if neither party is a resident of this state at the time of filing. This is because the state has Subject Matter Jurisdiction, meaning that annulments by their nature are corrective, and courts have that equitable or corrective responsibility. Courts in this state are particularly sensitive to filing the correct annulment paperwork because if you accidentally file for divorce, you are conceding that the marriage is valid and legal.

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An annulment is a legal process, much like filing for separation or divorce, where you must file a petition stating grounds for the claim, and be able to provide evidence supporting your petition. A religious annulment, most often used by couples married in the Catholic Church, is handled exclusively by the church. Obtaining either form of annulment does not in any way impact the other, although some claim a legal annulment can influence the church process positively. See our page on Annulments

Do not confuse a legal annulment of a marriage with a religious annulment

Receiving a religious annulment has absolutely no impact on your ability to get an annulment in a court of law. Having a legal annulment in hand has been reported to have some influence on The Church granting you a religious nullification.

The Church wants an annulment but it is not the legal one from the state

If the couple voluntarily lived together as husband and wife after any of the following condition, it would not be possible for the court to void the marriage:

  • the party learned of the fraud
  • the minor party reached the legal age
  • the party’s mental state improved;
  • being forced to get married; or
  • had sexual relations

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It is not unusual for people of faith (in particular, Catholics) to seek an annulment after (or long after) their divorce has been completed. The reason for this is almost always because they wish to fully rejoin their Church in a complete way, which includes receiving the sacraments. Catholics’ subsequent marriages to their church-based affair are not recognized by the Church, which prevents them from receiving such things as the Eucharist. An annulment sanctioned by the State seems to grease the skids for their religious effort to annul.

[Based on Alabama Code Section 13A, 13-1, 30-1-3, 30-1-19]

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