Annulment: Is It For Me?

If your recent marriage has already got you thinking about parting ways, you may be wondering if you can just get an annulment. You may have heard that an annulment is perfect for those with very short marriages that just don't work out. Many people want to get an annulment because of religious reasons. To help you sort fact from fiction, read on to learn about what type of marital situation qualifies for an annulment.

What is an Annulment?

Strictly speaking, an annulment is not a manner of ending a marriage but instead is a legal instrument that declares that a legal marriage never took place. Throughout history, it became a solution for couples who wanted to end their relationships but had been forbidden from divorcing. To this day, the Catholic church places restrictions on those with legal divorces, no matter the grounds. Using this legal maneuver helps those of that faith continue to take part in certain religious practices that would otherwise be forbidden if one were divorced, especially those who remarry after divorce.

What are the Grounds for an Annulment?

You must specify a reason for an annulment; there is no such thing as a "no-fault annulment". While the very roots of the practice of annulments are closely connected to religion, it's interesting to note that "religious reasons" is not on the list of acceptable grounds for an annulment. You may legally qualify for an annulment for the following reasons:

  • Fraud: One party used deception to convince the other party to marry them.
  • Force: One party, a parent or a third party used force to engineer the marriage.
  • Prohibited: A relationship based on a criminal act resulted in marriage. For example, the marriage was the result of an incestuous relationship.
  • Incapacity: One or both parties were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when married.
  • Bigamy: At least one party had a current, legal marriage to another person at the time of the marriage.
  • Consummation: No physical intercourse occurred.
  • Minor: One party was not of the minimum legal age to marry in the state where the marriage took place.
  • Mental Illness: At least one party was mentally ill at the time of the marriage.

Other Ways to Part Ways

The grounds for annulment are relatively strict and represent rarely encountered circumstances in most cases. For those who want to part fairly quickly, and that don't meet the requirements for an annulment, take heart. If you live in a no-fault state, a divorce where both parties attest to irreconcilable differences can be accomplished in a few weeks or months. Additionally, in some states a simplified or summary divorce is available. You must have no minor children and have a minimum amount of marital property and debt.

Contact a family law attorney, such as Gearing Rackner Engel And McGrath LLP, for more information about how to quickly, and legally end your relationship.