Divorce Guide

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What is annulment ?


Annulment is a legal process of actually erasing your marriage. This is different from divorce as in this case the marriage is never legal in the first place. This marriage does not exist and this process is rarely used.

In case of annulment both the parties part their ways as if they were never married. Spousal support, child custody, child support and other property issues do not come as the marriage is considered non-existent. There are no future obligations between the spouses unless there are children involved and the needs of child are addressed.

In strict legal terminology, annulment refers to making a voidable marriage null. A legal declaration of nullity is required to establish this and the procedure to get such a declaration is similar to annulment process.

Annulment still results in the children considered as legitimate in the US and many other countries.

Reasons for annulment:

Annulment proceedings look for a reason to declare the marriage shouldn’t have existed in the first place. Annulment focuses more on the legal and moral capacity to marry than on the fault of someone. The reason for annulment is termed as diriment impediment to marriage. Prohibitory impediments make entering in a marriage wrong and do not invalidate the marriage. Putative marriages are the ones in which the person is being married to another person at the time of wedding, being brother and sister, etc. following are the reasons of annulment.

The reasons for annulment can be put in two categories. Some reasons constitute a marriage void and others that constitute a voidable marriage. The first ones that constitute a marriage void are elements that prevent the marriage from being legal.

Voidable reasons are the ones that assume the parties would have not married had the circumstances been different and an annulment will be granted if any of the party requests for it. Voidable marriages may become legal and un voidable if the circumstances change.

  1. Insanity including the ability to consent
  2. Consanguinity i.e., being from the same kinship
  3. Not intending while marrying to remain faithful to your spouse
  4. One of the partner has been deceived in order to obtain consent and had the partner been aware would never have agreed to marry
  5. Abduction with the intention to compel to marry
  6. Failure to oblige y the canon laws for marriage like clandestinely
  7. The couple killed one spouse in order to get married
  8. Couple committed adultery and one of them killed the spouse to get married

Documents required for annulment:

  1. Copies of baptismal certificates of all the parties involved
  2. Copy of civil marriage license
  3. Copy of a church marriage certificate
  4. Copy of divorce decree certified or signed by the judge

Thus, annulment or an annulled marriage is legally void as if it never happened. The individuals involved can remarry with a clean slate. Though it is difficult to obtain, legal and religious annulment are designed to help the couple when they meet the strict reason for annulment.


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