Annulment | Nullity Defined
An annulment or nullity is a legal ruling that there never was an actual marriage, either because the marriage is void at its inception or is voidable by order of the court. A significant number of cases filed as annulments do not meet the statutory requirements and must be refiled as a dissolution. Getting it right the first time saves a lot of time and expense. Unlike divorce, where the desire of one or both spouses not to be married is considered sufficient grounds to grant dissolution; the grounds for an annulment must be proven to the court.
A void marriage is invalid from its inception. This can be due to a failure to follow the procedures that are required by law (e.g. marriage license, solemnization, or blood test(if required)); or it can be due to bigamy or incest.
A voidable marriage is valid until it is adjudged a nullity. The marriage can be ended by either divorce or annulment. Examples of voidable marriage include:
- A nullity action commenced by the party who was a minor at the time of the marriage and was married without parental consent.
- A marriage made in the belief that prior spouse or domestic partner was absent for five years and not known to be living.
- A marriage where one of the parties was of unsound mind and unable to understand the contract and obligations accompanying the marriage of domestic partnership.
- A marriage that one of the parties obtained by a fraud directly affecting the purpose of the deceived party in consenting to the marriage of domestic partnership.