An annulment is the invalidation of a marriage. Unlike divorce that legally ends a marriage, an annulment declares in the eyes of the law that the marriage never happened in the first place. While a divorce agreement creates legal and financial obligations between the parties, an annulment declares that the parties do not and and never did have a legal obligation to each other. After an annulment, the parties involved have no more right to each others assets than strangers in the street would.
Grounds for Annulment
Among the acceptable grounds for annulment may be:
Consanguinity – Parties are too closely related to be allowed to marry. Definitions vary by state, but marriages between biological parents and children, brothers and sisters, nieces and uncles, aunts and nephews are usually prohibited.
Fraud / Misrepresentation – Party seeking annulment must show that they were deceived by the other party and would not have agreed to the marriage had they known the truth. Fraud includes marriage solely for the purpose of gaining citizenship, for example.
Lack of Capacity to Consent – Parties who are coerced by violence or threats, mentally impaired, inebriated etc. at the time of the marriage, or under the legal marriageable age, for example, can be said to have lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage.
Non-consummation – In ability or refusal of one party to consummate the marriage.
Bigamy – One party is discovered to have been already legally married.
Simulation of Consent – One party never intended to remain faithful to the spouse.
The longer a marriage has been in effect, the more difficult it is to obtain an annulment.
Once an annulment has been granted, parties no longer have any claim to property not in their name, succession rights to the former partner’s estate, spousal support or guardian rights.
A religious annulment or religious dissolution of marriage applies only the the sacred aspect of a marriage and has no legal authority. For example, The Roman Catholic Church can issue a Decree of Nullity based on the church’s requirements after a legal divorce, but this religious annulment does not grant the parties the benefits of a legal annulment as described above.
Though annulment may seem attractive to couples ending a difficult or hostile relationship, it is among the most difficult legal remedies to obtain. Many states only allow annulment under very narrow circumstances. The services of an experienced Family Law attorney are imperative when seeking legal annulment. We at The Reynolds Law Firm, LLC, are ready to help with experience, knowledge, and honesty.
We hope you’ll contact us today for an initial consultation and case evaluation.
The Reynolds Law Firm, LLC
Belletower Office Building
4700 Belleview, Suite 404
Kansas City, MO 64112
Phone: (816) 531-6000
Fax: (816) 531-3939