Annulment of a marriage

Annulment of a marriage | Family Law

An annulment differs from a divorce; as when the process is complete the annulled couple will be deemed to have never been married.

The circumstances in which you can annul a marriage

If you are looking to end your marriage through annulment you will need
to prove that the marriage was not valid in the first place or fall under one of the following categories-

If your marriage was void

If your marriage was not legal for one of the following reasons;

- if your spouse is closely related by birth
- same sex
- age reasons i.e. one of you were under 16
- If one of you were already in a civil partnership or marriage.

If the marriage was not legal then in the eyes of the law it never existed.

If your marriage is deemed as defective (voidable)

A number of reasons fall under this category

If you have not had sex with your partner since the wedding
If you were not capable of consenting to the marriage
If your partner had any form of STD at the time of marriage
If the female of the relationship was pregnant by another person.

If you wish to apply for an annulment of your marriage you will need to complete a nullity petition, these forms are available online along with guidance on how to complete them, we would recommend however that you take legal advice.

Two copies of these forms will have to be sent to your local divorce court along with the appropriate fee, in addition, you will have to send in 2 copies of the statement of arrangements for any children under 16 or 18 if they are in education; a specific form is available for this.

Once you have sent in your petition to the courts they will send documents to the other party and they will need to respond within 8 days to the court, stating if they agree or not.

If they agree you can move to apply for a Decree Nisi, to obtain this you will need to complete an application for the decree nisi (conditional order)

With this application you must confirm all your statements are true, the courts have two forms for a statement in support of your annulment depending on if the marriage was void or voidable (refer to above).

Once you obtain your decree nisi you can apply for your decree absolute sometimes called a decree of nullity.

You will need to apply for this and once again a form is available for this called a notice of application for a decree nisi to be made absolute.

The courts will check during this process to ensure that the marriage can be annulled and you may need supporting documents/statements but will be advised during the process, once you have the decree absolute you are no longer married.

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