No one really wants to go through with a divorce since it can be costly, emotional and it separates families and friends. In some cases, however, the parties can obtain an annulment of their marriage. An annulment is a legal procedure that declares the marriage invalid, or that it never occurred.
Not all couples can get their marriage annulled. Each state has particular rules or guidelines on who can qualify for an annulment. These usually include any or all the following factors:
- The couple had a close blood relationship, such as first cousins.
- One partner was impotent and was unable to engage in sexual relations or to consummate the marriage.
- One of the parties was not old enough to marry under state law.
- A party was still legally married to someone else when your marriage took place.
- The marriage was entered into under duress or threat.
- One of the parties made certain misrepresentations to fraudulently induce the other to marry. This could include an undisclosed history of criminal activity or illegal immigrant status.
- A party was of unsound mind or unable to understand the nature of the marriage relationship.
The length of your marriage does not matter in seeking an annulment. Also, any children born while you were married are considered legitimate and an annulment has no effect on issues of custody or child support.
Also, an annulment may have a deadline depending on your state’s laws and the reasons for the annulment. For instance, some states impose a 4 year deadline for filing for an annulment if fraud or threat of force is alleged, or within a certain time after reaching the legal age for marriage.
You cannot obtain an annulment on grounds of adultery, desertion or abuse. Many states do offer no-fault divorce alternatives so that you need only allege incompatibility in your divorce petition.