Annulment

Annulment

If you and your partner decide to separate, it is important to consider what type of separation you want. Martin Foldie Law is here to help you navigate the path to marriage annulment and help you better understand all of your legal rights and what that means to you.

Annulment vs. Divorce

While an annulment and a divorce produce a similar outcome, they are defined by one key difference: a divorce acknowledges that the marriage was legal and valid, while an annulment denounces and erases the marriage completely. Since an annulment essentially cancels out the marriage, one of several different claims must be made for one to be enacted.

Civil Annulments 

Civil annulments are presented in front of and decided by a formal court. There are two distinct types of civil annulments, each with a plethora of reasons why a marriage should be annulled.  

1. No-Fault Annulments 

No-fault annulments occur when neither party blames the other for the marriage ending, even though there are triggering situations that may have lead to the annulment.

Bigamy 

  • This occurs if any party was currently married at the time of the marriage in question. 

Concealment 

  • If a spouse withheld an important piece of information, such as any children, felonies, or substance abuse, this can be grounds for annulment. 

Fraud 

  • This occurs if a marriage was formed under false pretexts or lies by the other party. 

Impotence  

  • Should a partner be unable to perform sexually, and this was not divulged at the time of the marriage.

Incest 

  • If a partner is suspected of being unrealistically close with one of their family members, an incest annulment can be enacted.

 Lack of Consent  

  • There are several different situations that a lack of marital consent can occur. The most common being one or both parties lacking sound mind to make that decision, commonly due to substance abuse. In addition, a lack of consent can occur if a party was forced or threatened into the marriage.  

Mental Illness 

  • If a spouse suffers from mental illness or was mentally disturbed at the time of marriage.  

Misunderstanding  

  • This grounds for annulment typically involves a differing opinion on the topic of children that the parties failed to discuss prior to the marriage. 

Underage  

  • Should an individual be under the legal age of marital consent, an annulment can be invoked.  

2. Fault 

In order to file for a fault annulment, a spouse must provide evidence for one of the following:

Abuse 

  • This includes evidence for physical and/or mental abuse. 

Adultery 

  • Evidence for spousal infidelity during the marriage must be present. 

Desertion  

  • Evidence must be provided showing an extended period of physical and/or mental distance. 

Religious Annulments

Religious annulments are commonly associated with the Catholic Church and also serve to cancel a marriage. Instead of a court, a diocesan tribunal decides whether or not to annul a marriage based on a lack of one of the following reasons:   

  • Ability to establish a successful marital community 
  • Appropriate motivation  
  • Emotional stability  
  • Honesty 
  • Motivation 
  • Willingness to enter the marriage  

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