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An annulment is a means to get a legal determination that a marriage was not valid, and the parties in fact were never legally married. Annulment is not necessarily buyer’s remorse. Often, people mistakenly believe that if you have only been married for a short amount of time, you can get an annulment. However, annulments are not based on the length of the marriage. You could only be married for one day and have to seek a divorce because you do not qualify for an annulment. One can apply for an annulment when there is an impediment rendering the marriage void. A marriage may be void for any of the following reasons:

  • One party is already married
  • The marriage is between certain relatives
  • One party is under the age of consent
  • The parties are of the same gender

In certain instances a marriage may be voidable. A voidable marriage continues until a party exercises his or her right to have it annulled. Some examples of situations that may qualify as voidable are as follows:

  • An undissolved prior marriage
  • One party being underage
  • A blood relationship
  • The absence of mental or physical capacity
  • Intoxication
  • The absence of a valid license
  • Duress
  • Refusal of Intercourse
  • Fraud and misrepresentation as to religion

Similar to a divorce, in an annulment the Court can still divide the parties’ joint property and determine matters concerning the minor children of the parties. However, the Court cannot award spousal maintenance in the case of an annulment.

If an annulment is granted, the parties will be placed in the legal position they would have been in, absent the marriage. If it is not granted, the parties can choose to proceed with a divorce.

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