Sometimes a couple doesn't find out that things are not meant to be until after they've made it legal. Trying to untie that marital knot usually involves some form of divorce, but some may think that getting an annulment is the answer to calling it quits. Read on and find out if this form of ending a relationship legally will work for you or if you need to see a divorce lawyer instead
Why an annulment? Brought about by religious edicts that discouraged divorce, annulments have been around for a very long time. When divorcing your spouse means losing the approval of the church and not being able to participate in important religious practices, you might have faced staying unhappily married forever. Annulments, then, were the invention that was meant to make it "okay" to leave your spouse and stills stay on the good side of the church. While annulments are still very much in existence, they have more of a legal standing than a religious one now. It should be noted, however, that the Catholic church still prevents those who go through with a divorce from taking part in some religious rituals. For Catholics, an annulment presents a way to fully practice their religion while still ending a relationship.
What is an annulment? Far from being a quick and easy way to get divorced, an annulment is actually a legal method of declaring that there was no legal marriage in the first place. Having a marriage "annulled", therefore, is not technically possible since there can be an annulment only if it can be shown that a legal marriage did not exist. There are several elements that must be demonstrated for an annulment to be granted.
Annulment grounds. After reading through some of the requirements below you may want to consider pursuing a no-fault divorce unless you have a religious motivation since there are no grounds required to part ways using that method and most states now offer couples that option. It should be noted that proving only one of the following grounds is necessary for an annulment to be granted.
1. No sexual intercourse. While this may seem like an antiquated notion, this remains one of the common motivations and grounds for requesting an annulment. Both parties must agree that there was no sexual intercourse.
2. Incapacity. Sadly, people who are not able to understand the ramifications of getting married get involved in marriages every day and the law provides a quick way out of the situation. In this instance, incapacity can be due to mental or physical disabilities, being under the influence of medication, alcohol or illegal substances or any other set of circumstances that demonstrate an inability to fully comprehend the full outcome of actions.
3. Fraud. Tricking another into marrying can be grounds for an annulment. Some examples of this include falsely claiming a pregnancy or a misstatement of financial stability.
4. Force. The parties must show that they were forced to marry. In some cases, parents may force young people with a baby on the way to marry against their will.
5. Unlawful. Every state has different laws that must be obeyed when it comes to having a legal marriage so any of the following could be grounds for an annulment.
- Not of age (a minor or less than legal age to marry)
- Already legally married to another (bigamy)
- Married to a close relative (incest)
To find out if an annulment is possible, speak to professionals such as Reagan, Melton, & Delaney LLP.