Annulment – Void & Voidable Marriages

Marriage Annulment; women and man sitting with broken paper heart

What is Annulment?

Annulment is similar to a divorce in that it dissolves your marriage. However, an annulment voids your marriage, so it as if it never happened.

When Can a Marriage be Annuled?

1. Void marriage – a marriage that was never allowed in the beginning

2. Voidable marriage – a marriage in which a judge may enter an order for the marriage to become void. This type of marriage isn’t automatically void, and people commonly file for divorce to end this type of marriage instead of filing an annulment.

Which Marriages Are Void?

A void marriage means the marriage was never valid in the first place. In most states, the following marriages may be void as a matter of law:

  1. Bigamous marriages occur when you marry someone who is already married.
  2. Incestuous marriages. In many states, this means closer than second cousins.
  3. Underage marriage without consent.

You may still need to file a lawsuit to have the marriage declared void. Seeking legal nullity of your marriage can be done on your own but the process can be much smoother if you hire an experienced divorce attorney who will help you get things done properly.

Which Marriages Are Voidable?

A marriage may be voidable where:

  • Parties are nearer in relation than second cousins.
  • Either party is under the age of sixteen (16) or an underage marriage without parental consent.
  • The marriage was entered under the representation and belief that the female is pregnant, the parties separate within 45 days of marriage and no child is born to the parties within 10 lunar months of the date of separation.
  • Either party is physically impotent (must be confirmed by a doctor).
  • Either party was incapable of contracting to marry because of mental incompetence at the time of marriage.
  • The marriage was fraudulently induced.

For a voidable marriage to be annulled, it’s necessary to file papers with the court and get a judge to enter an Order annulling the marriage.

The law on which marriages are voidable vs void varies by state. You should consult with an attorney to determine the particular requirements in your state. It’s also important to consider any immigration issues and the impact an annulment may have on green card status.