Many people wonder if they can get an annulment instead of a divorce to end their marriage. What is the difference? Do you qualify? It is important to note that civil annulments under the law are separate from annulments granted by a church.
While a divorce legally dissolves a marriage, an annulment is a legal declaration that the marriage never existed in the first place. In order for this declaration to be possible, the court must find that your marriage was void. Void marriages are unlawful or invalid from the start.
Some examples of void marriages are:
- One or both spouses were not mentally competent to get married at the time of the ceremony
- A spouse only agreed to get married due to fraud or coercion
- One or both spouses were not of the minimum age to get married or did not have proper consent if they were underage
- The spouses are too closely related, including parent and child, siblings, grandparent and grandchild, or uncle/aunt and nephew/niece
- One spouse had a legal marriage to another person at the time of the ceremony
Even if your marriage is void to begin with, you might “ratify” the marriage if you continue to live as spouses after you learn of the invalidity. For example, if you were too intoxicated to consent to marriage at the ceremony, but you chose to continue living with your spouse as a married couple anyway, your marriage will not be annulled. However, marriages that are illegal (those involving incest or bigamy) cannot be ratified and can generally be annulled even if the marriage was consummated.
Consult with a Divorce Lawyer in Greensboro for Help
At the E.J. Boswell Law Office, we help spouses in all types of situations find the best path to ending their marriages. Contact us online or call 706.454.0032 to learn more about our Greensboro divorce attorney.