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Annulment of marriage

Under certain conditions, a marriage may be annulled. An annulment retroactively makes it as if the marriage never existed.

Annulment of marriage overview

An annulment is a legal process that ends a marriage. Unlike divorce, which dissolves the marriage, a marriage annulment treats the marriage as if it never happened. In other words, an annulment declares your marriage to be invalid from the beginning. It may be easier to remarry within your church if you get an annulment rather than a divorce. Annulments can be civil or religious. The information below is for a civil annulment.

Why choose an annulment vs. a divorce?

Some choose to get an annulment because they feel that a divorce carries a stigma, but there are also financial benefits. Some financial disputes can be avoided because both parties return to their original financial state before the marriage. Both parties are equally responsible for any additional debt accrued during the marriage. The handling of assets gained during the marriage varies from state to state, so you should find out what your state’s laws say about annulment. 

When is getting an annulment an option?

The most common reasons for a civil annulment are bigamy, incest, fraud, insanity, unconsummated marriage, impotence, duress, misunderstanding, concealment, incapacity due to drugs or alcohol, and being under the legal age for consent.   Your state may also have specific requirements and time frames to keep in mind. Proving the grounds for an annulment can be costly and sometimes more complex than an uncontested divorce.

What is the process if I qualify?

You must file paperwork with the county in which you live. Some states require that you also file annulment paperwork in the county where you were married. A family law lawyer and county clerks can help you figure out where you need to file. There is often a minimum residency requirement for a county to accept annulment paperwork, so talk to your lawyer or county clerk to understand your county’s requirements. Residency requirements can sometimes interfere with annulment timelines.

How long does it take?

Like a divorce, the average time for an annulment is one year. Also like a divorce, the time can become much shorter or much longer depending on the level of agreement between spouses and amount of proof for the grounds for annulment.
Anthony Payman Azemika | Oct 4, 2019

Can’t Condone a Cheating Spouse Then Ask for Annulment of Marriage

Husband told Wife that he wanted to come to the U.S. He said that he wanted to live with her, have a restaurant business, and join the U.S. Army. He started to discuss marriage between February and March of 2015. In June of 2015, Wife traveled to Jamaica to meet Husband for the first time. While she was visiting him, they got married. Wife returned to the U.S. and applied for a two-year visa for Husband. The application was approved in September of 2016 and Husband joined Wife in November of 2016. According to Wife, Husband started “soliciting call girls, prostitution, and other women off of sites” within a week of his arrival. In February 2017, Husband was jailed for several days after an incident of domestic violence. Trial Court issued a restraining order against him. While Husband was in incarcerated, Wife discovered text messages he sent to his mother which indicated that he was staying with Wife until he got his papers and was urging her and his brother to come to the U.S. too. She also found text messages between Husband and another woman in which he repeatedly said he loved her, explained that he could not leave Wife until he got his papers or the Army “came through,” and said he would get a divorce when he could. When Husband got out of jail, Wife let him come back home. She had the restraining order lifted. They resumed fully cohabiting, but no longer held themselves out as a couple. Wife would later say that she felt legally responsible for him until he was given permanent resident status. However, in March of 2017, Wife found out that Husband had sex with another woman in their home. In June of 2017, Wife filed for an annulment on the basis of fraud or alternatively for a divorce. Still, Husband and Wife continued to live together and have sexual relations until November of 2017, when Wife asked him to move out. At a subsequent hearing, Wife testified to the above-related facts and assertions. When Husband testified, he denied soliciting women on the internet, and claimed that the women in Jamaica was just a friend. He said he had told her that he loved her because he’d been traumatized in jail, and was seeking comfort for his emotional wounds. In response to Husband’s denial of cheating, Wife testified that he had taped himself having sex in their home with another woman. She described the sounds that led her to believe that sex was occurring, but did not submit the tape in evidence. Wife stated the she had found the woman’s phone number on Husband’s phone, along with numbers for escort services, and had actually spoken with the woman. Husband then testified that the woman was “an acquaintance who stopped by the house” and had come on to him and demanded sex during her visit. Husband maintained that they did not have sex and that the woman was the one who recorded their encounter in order to get “sexual favors” from him. When the hearing concluded, Trial Court ruled from the bench. Trial Court summarized the facts, noting that Husband had engaged in two relationships with other women before he had been in the U.S. for a year. Trial Court reasoned that Wife and Husband owed each other a duty of fidelity, to live together (not just cohabit) in full confidence of fidelity. Concluding that this was “not the case here,” Trial Court granted Wife’s petition for an annulment. Claiming that Wife failed to prove the elements required for an annulment for fraud under California Family Code Section 2210(d), Husband appealed. California Court of Appeals has now reversed the Trial Court’s decision. The Court of Appeals has ruled that (1) fraud must be shown by clear and convincing evidence that it directly defeats the marriage relationship; (2) under the case of In re Marriage of Ramirez (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 751, a fraudulent intent to be unfaithful held by a spouse at the time of the marriage may support an annulment; (3) under Family Code Section 2210(d), a party whose consent to marry was obtained by fraud may not obtain an annulment on the grounds of fraud if he or she freely cohabits with the offending spouse after gaining full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud; and (4) here, Wife continued to live with and have sex with Husband for eight months after she taped Husband’s sexual encounter in their home. The Appellate Court thus holds that Trial Court made a mistake by granting an annulment on these facts and it reverses Trial Court’s Judgment of Annulment, and sends the case back to Trial Court for proceedings on Wife’s alternative petition for divorce.

Bill Powers | Dec 10, 2018

Marriage Licenses - Article 2 - Chapter 51 - NCGA

* 51-6. Solemnization without license unlawful. No minister, officer, or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State shall perform a ceremony of marriage between a man and woman, or shall declare them to be husband and wife, until there is delivered to that person a license for the marriage of the said persons, signed by the register of deeds of the county in which the marriage license was issued or by a lawful deputy or assistant. There must be at least two witnesses to the marriage ceremony. Whenever a man and woman have been lawfully married in accordance with the laws of the state in which the marriage ceremony took place, and said marriage was performed by a magistrate or some other civil official duly authorized to perform such ceremony, and the parties thereafter wish to confirm their marriage vows before an ordained minister or minister authorized by a church, or in a ceremony recognized by any religious denomination, federally or State recognized Indian Nation or Tribe, nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit such confirmation ceremony; provided, however, that such confirmation ceremony shall not be deemed in law to be a marriage ceremony, such confirmation ceremony shall in no way affect the validity or invalidity of the prior NC General Statutes - Chapter 51 6 marriage ceremony performed by a civil official, no license for such confirmation ceremony shall be issued by a register of deeds, and no record of such confirmation ceremony may be kept by a register of deeds. (1871-2, c. 193, s. 4; Code, s. 1813; Rev., s. 2086; C.S., s. 2498; 1957, c. 1261; 1959, c. 338; 1967, c. 957, ss. 6, 9; 1977, c. 592, s. 2; 2001-62, s. 6.) * 51-7. Penalty for solemnizing without license Every minister, officer, or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State, who marries any couple without a license being first delivered to that person, as required by law, or after the expiration of such license, or who fails to return such license to the register of deeds within 10 days after any marriage celebrated by virtue thereof, with the certificate appended thereto duly filled up and signed, shall forfeit and pay two hundred dollars ($200.00) to any person who sues therefore, and shall also be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (R.C., c. 68, ss. 6, 13; 1871-2, c. 193, s. 8; Code, s. 1817; Rev., ss. 2087, 3372; C.S., s. 2499; 1953, c. 638, s. 1; 1967, c. 957, s. 5; 1993, c. 539, s. 415; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2001-62, s. 7.) * 51-8. License issued by register of deeds. Every register of deeds shall, upon proper application, issue a license for the marriage of any two persons who are able to answer the questions regarding age, marital status, and intention to marry, and, based on the answers, the register of deeds determines the persons are authorized to be married in accordance with the laws of this State. In making a determination as to whether or not the parties are authorized to be married under the laws of this State, the register of deeds may require the applicants for the license to marry to present certified copies of birth certificates or such other evidence as the register of deeds deems necessary to the determination. The register of deeds may administer an oath to any person presenting evidence relating to whether or not parties applying for a marriage license are eligible to be married pursuant to the laws of this State. Each applicant for a marriage license shall provide on the application the applicant's social security number. If an applicant does not have a social security number and is ineligible to obtain one, the applicant shall present a statement to that effect, sworn to or affirmed before an officer authorized to administer oaths. Upon presentation of a sworn or affirmed statement, the register of deeds shall issue the license, provided all other requirements are met, and retain the statement with the register's copy of the license. The register of deeds shall not issue a marriage license unless all of the requirements of this section have been met. (1871-2, c. 193, s. 5; Code, s. 1814; 1887, c. 331; Rev., s. 2088; C.S., s. 2500; 1957, c. 506, s. 1; 1967, c. 957, s. 2; 1997-433, s. 4.5; 1998-17, s. 1; 1999-375, s. 1; 2001-62, s. 8; 2002-159, s. 14.) * 51-8.1. Repealed by Session Laws 1967, c. 53. * 51-8.2. Issuance of marriage license when applicant is unable to appear. If an applicant for a marriage license is over 18 years of age and is unable to appear in person at the register of deeds' office, the other party to the planned marriage must appear in person on behalf of the applicant and submit a sworn and notarized affidavit in lieu of the absent applicant's personal appearance. The affidavit shall be in the following or some equivalent form: __________, [applicant] appearing before the undersigned notary and being duly sworn, says that: NC General Statutes - Chapter 51 7 1. I, __________, [applicant's name] am applying for a license in _______ County, North Carolina, to marry _______ [name of other applicant] in North Carolina within the next 60 days and I am authorized under G.S. 51-8.2 to complete this Affidavit in Lieu of Personal Appearance for Marriage License Application. I attach: (1) documentation that I am over 18 years of age as required in county of issuance; and (2) documentation of divorce as required by county of issuance. 2. I submit the following information in applying for a marriage license: Name: ____________________________________________________________ First Middle Last Residence: _________________________________________________________ State County City or Town __________________________________________________________________ * 51-15. Obtaining license by false representation misdemeanor If any person shall obtain, or aid and abet in obtaining, a marriage license by misrepresentation or false pretenses, that person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1885, c. 346; Rev., s. 3371; C.S., s. 2501; 1967, c. 957, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s. 417; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2001-62, s. 10.) * 51-16. Form of license. License shall be in the following or some equivalent form: To any ordained minister of any religious denomination, minister authorized by a church, any magistrate, or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State: A.B. having applied to me for a license for the marriage of C.D. (the name of the man to be written in full) of (here state his residence), aged ____ years (race, as the case may be), the son of (here state the father and mother, if known; state whether they are living or dead, and their residence, if known; if any of these facts are not known, so state), and E.F. (write the name of the woman in full) of (here state her residence), aged ____ years (race, as the case may be), the daughter of (here state names and residences of the parents, if known, as is required above with respect to the man). (If either of the parties is under 18 years of age, the license shall here contain the following:) And the written consent of G.H., father (or mother, etc., as the case may be) to the proposed marriage having been filed with me, and there being no legal impediment to such marriage known to me, you are hereby authorized, at any time within 60 days from the date hereof, to celebrate the proposed marriage at any place within the State. You are required within 10 days after you shall have celebrated such marriage, to return this license to me at my office with your signature subscribed to the certificate under this license, and with the blanks therein filled according to the facts, under penalty of forfeiting two hundred dollars ($200.00) to the use of any person who shall sue for the same. Issued this ____ day of ____, ____ ____________________ L.M. Register of Deeds of ____ County Every register of deeds shall, at the request of an applicant, designate in a marriage license issued the race of the persons proposing to marry by inserting in the blank after the word "race" the words "white," "black," "African-American," "American Indian," "Alaska Native," "Asian Indian," "Chinese," "Filipino," "Japanese," "Korean," "Vietnamese," "Other Asian," "Native Hawaiian," "Guamarian," "Chamorro," "Samoan," "Other Pacific Islander," "Mexican," "Mexican-American," "Chicano," "Puerto Rican," "Cuban," "Other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino," or "other," as the case may be. The certificate shall be filled out and signed by the minister, officer, or other authorized individual celebrating the marriage, and also be signed by two witnesses present at the marriage, who shall add to their names their place of residence, as follows: NC General Statutes - Chapter 51 9 I, N.O., an ordained or authorized minister or other authorized individual of (here state to what religious denomination, or magistrate, as the case may be), united in matrimony (here name the parties), the parties licensed above, on the ___ day of ______, ___, at the house of P.R., in (here name the town, if any, the township and county), according to law. ________________ N.O. Witness present at the marriage: S.T., of (here give residence). (1871-2, c. 193, s. 6; Code, s. 1815; 1899, c. 541, ss. 1, 2; Rev., s. 2089; 1909, c. 704, s. 3; 1917, c. 38; C.S., s. 2502; 1953, c. 638,

Ryan Kyle McFarland | Mar 2, 2018

Annulment in Tennessee: A Faster, Easier Divorce?

Annulment versus Divorce Although an annulment and a divorce have certain things in common (they bring an end to your relationship, they require a division of property, a parenting plan, child support if applicable) they are two entirely separate concepts. Many people view annulment as simply a faster, easier way to get a divorce. As explained here, that is not. Tennessee allows annulment in very limited circumstances. This speaks to the fundamental difference between a divorce and an annulment. A divorce is the end of a legal marriage. An annulment means that there never really was a marriage at all, and the whole thing is treated as void. In other words, in an annulment there was a substantial defect at the time of the marriage that was so strongly against marriage policy that it rendered the entire marriage void and invalid. A void marriage is no marriage. Grounds for Getting an Annulment Scenario: A couple finds themselves involved in a whirlwind romance and are convinced they have found their soul mates. After two weeks of dating, they elope to Vegas and get married at a drive thru chapel. They come back home and realize they really don't like each other that much after all. Can they just get their marriage annulled instead of going through the divorce process? Probably not. The specific grounds for annulment have been developed, for the most part, through case law in the Tennessee courts. They are as follows: o Incurable impotence that existed at the time of the marriage o Failure to consummate the marriage o Incestuous marriage o Secret pregnancy at time of marriage o Minor marries without consent from a parent or guardian o Bigamy o Mental incapacity or insanity o Marriage by fraud o Marriage under duress, force, or threat of physical harm o Limited purpose marriage Absent any of the above, divorce is your only recourse. Annulments and divorces are best handled by a skilled family law attorney. Located in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee, McFarland Law Office would be honored to speak with you regarding the specific circumstances of your relationship and whether an annulment or divorce would suit you. Your consultation is free and we will sit down with you and explain how we can best serve you. If you are in need of a knowledgeable, thorough divorce attorney, give us a call at (931) 516-9009.

Carina Castaneda | Mar 20, 2017

Can I Get an Annulment?

"Void Marriage" There are 2 statutory grounds for "void marriage," and other non-statutory grounds for a void marriage. These marriages are void from the start. They will not be made valid over time or by consent of the parties. Incestuous marriages (Family Code (FC) 2201) are instances when the people involved are close blood relatives. This does not apply to first cousins who are legally allowed to marry in California. Another is a bigamous marriage (FC 2200) are when a spouse or domestic partner is already married to or in a registered domestic partnership with someone else. Note, even though it is not found in the Family Code, the failure to obtain a marriage license results in a void marriage. Voidable marriages are made void, not by law but by an order of the court. Voidable marriages are made void, not by law but by an order of the court. Each of the grounds for voidable marriage has a statute of limitations so the passage of time can make an otherwise voidable marriage valid.: (1) Age at the time of marriage FC 2210 (a). If not 18 at the time of marriage and did not have parental permission (2) Prior existing marriage FC 2210 (b). When either party was married at the time of marriage, but for 5 years prior believed their spouse was dead or missing. This is different from a bigamous marriage. The difference is actual knowledge. (3) Unsound mind FC 2210(c). When a party does not have the mental capacity to understand the obligations assumed by being married. Most common example is when Brittany Spears was able to get her 55 hours of marriage to Jason Alexander annulled. (4) Fraud FC 2210(d). This is the most common basis for annulment. The fraud must be vital to the marriage. This can include getting married only to allow a party can obtain a "green card", lying about the ability to have children, and/or lacking the intent to observe the obligation of sexual fidelity." In California, if one party is having an affair at the time of the marriage, this may be considered fraud. (5) Force FC 2210(e). When a party only consented to the marriage as as a result of force. (6) Physical Incapacity FC 2210(f). A party is physically incapacitated if hat person is incapable of "consummating" the relationship and the incapacity continues and is incurable.

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