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Marriage: Can This Marriage Be Annulled?

While many people get married with the best of intentions, over time, they may come to find that they have been deceived into marriage. In some other cases, a number of events may culminate in the breakdown of such a marriage. When marriages break down, it is important to note that divorce is not the one and only solution to this problem. By speaking to a Family law attorney Scottsdale AZ you can come to understand the various options you have including an annulment of the marriage.

When Can I Consider an Annulment?

When you are seeking to break off legal marital ties, there are several options that may work for you based on your specific needs and the facts of the case at hand. Similar to a divorce, a civil annulment of marriage ends the legal relationship between the spouses.

Spouses, in the aftermath of a civil annulment, become single again in the eyes of the law and are free to remarry as they deem fit. What’s more, is that an annulment goes a step further by canceling the record of the marriage which existed in the first place. This means that couples who seek and are granted an annulment of their marriage are relieved from the marriage and the record of the marriage becomes void.

To get an annulment, however, you must be able to prove that the marriage should not have existed or that it is avoidable and should not be allowed to stand. There are various grounds upon which you may be able to seek the annulment or nullification of your marriage, some of the common grounds include:

  • A marriage that was conducted when one or both spouses was in an unsound state of mind. This means that the marriage must have occurred in the absence of consent from one or both parties, or it occurred when one or both parties were in a state of mental impairment or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • A person may also seek the nullification of a marriage based on the fact that he or she was forced or coerced into making the decision or following through with the marriage. If you have been threatened or forced to be in a marriage, then you may be able to seek its voidance.
  • A marriage can also be annulled when it has been established that it was based on fraudulent acts or misrepresentation. If one of the spouses had made false statements that had swayed the other’s decision to consent to the marriage, such a marriage may be voided on the grounds that the belief of the agreeing party was based on a fraudulent representation or misrepresentation.
  • A person may also be able to seek the annulment of a marriage on the grounds that the partner had been physically impaired. Such impairment may be in the form of sexual impotence, sterility or others.

However, it is worthy of note that if you were aware of your spouse’s impotence prior to marriage, then you may be unable to seek the annulment of the marriage based on these grounds.

Void or Illegal Marriages

It is also possible for you to get your marriage annulled if it constitutes a void or illegal marriage. A void marriage is considered to be automatically invalid and this is because the marriage is not recognized by the law.

There are several reasons why a marriage may be considered void. Below are some of the common situations that can make a marriage void:

  • Bigamy: when one spouse has been found to have been already married to another person.
  • Underage marriage: when one or both persons involved in the marriage are deemed to be under the age of consent thus making it an underage marriage. In such cases as this, it must also be established that the marriage did not have parental consent or court approval. However, it may be impossible or rather difficult to seek an annulment if the underage couple remains married past the legal age of consent.
  • Incest: marriage may be rendered void if there is sufficient information and evidence to prove that both parties involved are siblings, or closer by relation than second cousins.

In such cases, as discussed above, the state does not recognize these unions and they may provide the option of annulment, divorce, or in some cases, both end the marriage.

The Pros and Cons of Annulment

While annulment has its advantages, it is also important that you should carefully consider the disadvantages associated with this process. Below are some of the important advantages and disadvantages you should understand before proceeding.

Advantages of an Annulment

The most important benefit of seeking an annulment is that you are legally considered free from the marriage that had caused you so much pain. In addition, as against a divorce which recognizes and lists your previous relationship, an annulment ensures that the marriage is treated as though it never existed once it has been granted.

In cases of marriage annulment, courts do not usually have to bother about property division as part of the process. However, in some states like New Jersey, a court may proceed to award alimony or spousal support to either of the parties. With an annulment, you have fewer issues to deal with compared to a divorce case.

However, the dynamics of the case may become complex if there are children involved in the annulment case. The judge sitting on the case may consider custody and child support arrangements to ensure that the children are well cared for. In the case of an annulment, the legitimacy of a child is not questioned. In most states, children who are born while their parents are together are regarded as legitimate, even after the marriage has been annulled.

Disadvantages of Annulment

While an annulment may appear simple and without complication compared to divorce, it is also important that you consider the negative implications.

First, to seek an annulment, the grounds for the claim have to be pretty solid, making a case like this complicated and expensive. With most states offering no-fault divorce where spouses can simply hide under the umbrella of irreconcilable differences, an annulment may pose a bigger problem as you may have to prove to the court beyond a reasonable doubt why the marriage should be nullified.

Another major disadvantage is that most states have a window period within which you are required to file or an annulment. Failure to do so in the time frame may further complicate the issue at hand.

To learn more about the effects of annulment, visit

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