Most married people learn things about their spouses after marriage that may come as a surprise, and not always a pleasant one at that! In some marriages, however, a spouse may be shocked to learn that the person they married is not at all who they believed him or her to be. And sometimes, a marriage was solemnized under circumstances that undermine its validity.
In these latter situations, the parties may seek an annulment. An annulment, like a divorce, terminates the marriage relationship, but when an annulment is granted it is as though the marriage never existed at all. The laws regarding annulments vary from state to state, and also from religion to religion, but if you can answer "yes" to one or more of the following questions, you may have grounds for annulling your marriage.
|Was one of the parties still legally married to another person at the time of marriage?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Are you and your spouse too closely related to each other by blood, such as siblings, first cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Did one (or both) of the parties lack the requisite mental capacity to voluntarily enter into the marriage due to mental illness?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Did one (or both) of the parties lack the requisite mental capacity to voluntarily enter into the marriage due to the effects of drugs or alcohol?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Was one of the parties forced by threats or duress to enter into the marriage?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Is one of the parties physically unable to engage in sexual intercourse, and unwilling or unable to change?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Did you fail to consummate the marriage (i.e., you did not engage in sexual intercourse) (often required in conjunction with another ground)?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Was one (or both) of the parties too young according to the law to enter into marriage?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Did one (or both) of the parties, if under age, lack the requisite parental consent for the marriage?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Was the wife pregnant with another man's child at the time of marriage?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Did one of the parties grossly misrepresent a crucial fact about himself or herself, such as regarding religion or criminal history?||Yes _____ No _____|
|Did you fail to meet the legal requirements for marriage (e.g., no blood tests, witnesses, etc.)?||Yes _____ No _____|
As mentioned above, remember that the grounds for annulment vary depending on the state. Make sure to refer to your state's specific laws and requirements regarding annulment. You may want to consult with a divorce attorney for legal assistance or advice. You can also find more general information on this and other issues by checking out FindLaw's sections on marriage, annulment, and divorce.
Learn More About Annulments By Speaking to an Attorney
Annulments require a very specific set of circumstances and may not be available to many couples looking to split up. Contact a local family law lawyer who can explain the annulment laws in your state and assess if you qualify for an annulment.