Annulment Law and Legal Definition

An annulment is legal decree that states that a marriage was never valid. The legal effect of an annulment is to void the marriage as though it never existed. Generally, the length of time married is not a determining factor to request an annulment. Mere regret alone is generally insufficient grounds for an annulment. Laws vary by jurisdiction, so local laws should be consulted for requirements in your area. Some of the reasons for granting an annulment are:

FRAUD OR COERCION - The consent to marriage of one of the parties was obtained by coercion or fraud and the parties have not cohabitated (lived together as husband and wife) after learning of the fraud. Fraud or coercion by a party to the marriage is grounds for an annulment, but each case is determined by the specific facts involved.

Cases where annulments have been granted in the past based on fraud include the following circumstances:

CITIZENSHIP

  • One person married another solely to obtain a green card, or citizenship.
  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she would not fulfill a prenuptial promise to become a U.S. citizen.

SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP

  • One person misrepresented a willingness to consummate the marriage and reside together following the marriage.
  • One person misrepresented a willingness to bear children after the marriage.
  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she was not willing or physically able to engage in sexual intercourse following the marriage.
  • One person misrepresented to the other party that he/she was willing and able to conceive children during the marriage, despite knowing they are sterile and unable to conceive children.
  • The wife misrepresented or concealed that she was pregnant by another man at the time of marriage.
  • Prior to the marriage the wife claimed to be pregnant, but it was disclosed after the marriage that she was not pregnant.
  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she was homosexual.

CHARACTER, HONESTY

  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she had physically abused a prior person in their lives.
  • -One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she had a criminal history.
  • -One of the parties was forced into the marriage because of duress, threats and intimidation and would not have entered into the marriage except for the other party’s conduct.

HEALTH

  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she was not in good health or had a disease.
  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she suffered from a mental illness or had been institutionalized in a mental hospital.
  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she suffered from alcohol, drug, or gambling addiction.

FINANCIAL

  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she married the other person solely to obtain the parties' money, wealth or property.
  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she would not fulfill the terms of a prenuptial agreement to reimburse the other party for alimony lost because of remarriage.

RELIGION

  • One person misrepresented or concealed that he/she would not fulfill a prenuptial promise to have a religious marriage ceremony performed after the civil marriage ceremony.
  • One person misrepresented or concealed his/her present religious conviction or acceptance of the other's religion.
  • One person misrepresented or concealed his/her prior divorce and the other party is a Roman Catholic.

Other grounds may include:

  • Undisclosed prior marriage
  • Violation of divorce decree or statute prohibiting remarriage.
  • Marriage entered into as a joke or without an intent to having a binding marriage.
  • One or both parties were under the legal age to consent at the time of marriage, as defined by state statute
  • Incestuous marriages, as defined by incest laws of the state in which the marriage took place.
  • Temporary insanity existing at the time of marriage, so that the capacity to marry was not present because the person lacked an understanding of the duties and relationship of marriage. Poor judgment is insufficient.
  • Intoxication at the marriage ceremony to such a degree as to render that person incapable of knowing the nature of the marriage contract and its consequences.