Marriage annulments are quite rare, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there are no legal grounds for it to happen. As long as the applicants have the right legal grounds, a marriage annulment could be an option for marriage dissolution instead of divorce, which is the most common option.
That said, it is crucial to understand the legality of a marriage annulment if you wish to use that channel to dissolve your marriage. Understanding the legal grounds and all the requirements will help you understand if you are eligible for the procedure or not.
A marriage annulment refers to the legal process of deeming a marriage invalid from the start for several reasons. In short, it deems the marriage void, and in legal terms, it means the marriage never existed. When it happens, both parties’ marital status is reverted to single, and the marriage is established to have never existed lawfully. The parties are considered not to have married lawfully. A legal term refers to an annulled marriage as ‘nullified,’ and it is either considered ‘voidable’ or ‘void.’
Is There a Difference Between Civil Annulment and Religious Annulment?
Most people confuse the difference between the civil annulment and the religious annulment of a marriage. A civil annulment happens in a court of law, and a judge determines the eligibility of the candidates before annulling the marriage. The process follows the legal channels, and when the judge or the court deems a marriage annulled, it becomes void before the law.
On the other hand, religious annulments refer to situations in which a church tribunal might establish that a marriage is annulled, consequently allowing one person to marry another in the same institution. It is worth noting that this type of annulment is not recognized legally and does not have any legal grounds. That said, the proper channel to go through to annul a marriage is through a court of law, and the set requirements of eligibility must be proven for the wedding annulment to go through.
What are The Legal Grounds for Eligibility in an Annulment Case?
Several reasons may qualify as legal grounds for a marriage annulment. If your marriage qualifies for these grounds, you can file for annulment. Some of these reasons for annulment include:
- Lack of mental capacity- If one party in the marriage proves that they were insane, mentally ill or unfit, or mentally incapacitated during the wedding, the court might annul the marriage. The reasoning behind this logic is that a mentally incapacitated or a mentally ill person can’t give legal consent to take part in a marriage. If proven, there are legal grounds for a marriage annulment.
- Duress- This means that one party did not consent to the marriage willfully. In a legal marriage, both parties need to give voluntary consent. If there is proof that someone was threatened or compelled to consent to the marriage, then the marriage can be deemed voidable.
- Intoxication- If one of the parties during the marriage proceedings was intoxicated, under the influence, or drugged, the marriage has legal grounds for annulment. A drugged or intoxicated person can’t give legal consent to a marriage, and there are legal grounds for annulment.
- Incestuous Marriage- An incestuous marriage has automatic qualifications for legal annulment because most states prohibit this type of marriage. Therefore, marriage is void for the word go.
- Bigamy- If one party in a marriage enters into another marriage before legally dissolving the previous marriage, they are said to have committed bigamy, and therefore the marriage is void.
- Fraud- If one of the parties in a marriage intentionally tricked the other party by being dishonest or by using misrepresented facts about themselves, then the marriage is viable for annulment on the legal grounds of fraud.
It is important to understand the different legal grounds for annulment before filing for a marriage annulment. As seen, a wedding annulment is rare, but that does not mean that it doesn’t happen. When the right legal grounds are presented and proven, the marriage can be considered void or voidable.