An annulment differs from a divorce in that it treats your marriage as if it never happened. To get a civil annulment (as opposed to a church annulment), you must petition the court and meet certain legal requirements. Here are some tips to assist you in getting a civil annulment.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Research the civil annulment laws. The grounds for getting a civil annulment can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Common grounds for seeking an annulment include fraud, insanity, bigamy, impotence, duress, mental disability, one party being under the age of consent, failure to consummate the marriage or incapacity based on alcohol or drugs.
Recognize defenses. Living together prior to marriage may weaken a subsequent request for a civil annulment. Being married for only a short period of time is also not likely to be considered sufficient grounds for getting a civil annulment.
Understand that, unlike a divorce, maintenance and alimony are not issues in a civil annulment. Children conceived of the marriage are also considered legitimate.
Seek professional counsel. Consult with an attorney experienced in family law issues for advice and representation in getting a civil annulment.
File the appropriate paperwork. With the help of your attorney, file the necessary documents requesting a civil annulment with the appropriate court in your jurisdiction. Civil annulments can only be granted by a judge.
Tips & Warnings
- Don't delay. A civil annulment action generally has to be filed within two years of the marriage date. Failure to timely file for a civil annulment can negate your claim.