Do I Qualify For a Marriage Annulment?
While virtually any married person can get a divorce, not everyone can get an annulment. Each state has its own laws regarding who qualifies for an annulment, but in general, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- You were under the age of legal consent at the time of your supposed marriage.
- You and your supposed spouse are closely related by blood, such as first cousins.
- Your supposed spouse cannot or refuses to consummate the marriage.
- He or she failed to give you vital information prior to the supposed marriage, such as the fact that he or she could not or would not help you produce children.
- He or she tricked you into the marriage or otherwise fraudulently induced you to marry him or her.
- He or she suffers from a serious mental condition that requires long-term in-patient care.
- He or she is a convicted felon serving a long-term prison sentence.
Status of Marriage
Unlike a divorce that ends a valid marriage, an annulment decrees that your marriage never took place at all since it was invalid from the beginning. In other words, you have been a single person throughout the relationship even though you believed yourself to be married. This nevertheless does not affect the status of any children produced during the relationship. They are legitimate, not bastards.
The court has jurisdiction over your children and therefore over all issues regarding custody, visitation, and child support, just like it would if you were getting a divorce instead of an annulment. It can also grant you spousal support if it deems that such support is necessary.
There are several advantages to seeking an annulment rather than a divorce, including the following:
- Annulments have no minimum residency requirements.
- They have no waiting period before being granted.
- If your grounds for annulment include fraud, the court may ignore any interspousal property transactions that occurred during your invalid marriage.
Keep in mind that obtaining a civil annulment from a court does not negate your marriage if you’re a Catholic or belong to another religion that has its own religious annulment rules and procedures. Your religion does not recognize civil divorces or annulments and you will need to obtain a religious annulment if you wish to marry again within your church. Contact your local priest, rabbi, or religious leader to find out what you must do to qualify for a religious annulment. Like a civil annulment, a religious one does not affect the legitimacy of your children. An experienced divorce lawyer, like the attorneys at Robinson & Hadeed, can also assist with your annulment.