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Divorce, is the usual solution for a failed marriage. One spouse will petition for a divorce, based on the rules in the state he or she, lives in. The decree of divorce, granted by the courts, will dissolve the marriage.
Annulment is another way of ending a marriage. When a decree of annulment is granted, it ends the marriage. Unlike a divorce, however, an annulment goes further. It declares that no valid marriage ever happened, due to a defect in it’s inception. Annulment is another way of ending a marriage. It decrees there was no marriage ever, due to a legal issue. Compared to divorce, annulments are rare. They are very tightly regulated. Each state provides very specific reasons, in which a marriage will be annulled. Typically, reasons are things like: impotence, infancy, mental incompetence, incest, fraud, etc. If one, or more, of the reasons listed here exist, then the marriage is void – regardless of whether one more parties file for a decree of annulment.
Annulment’s can be granted based on fraud. Courts can grant a fraud based annulment, is the fraud induced the marriage. The duped spouse has to show that he, or she, relied on misrepresentations made when deciding to go through with the marriage. For example, if you are compelled to marry someone – due to a child out of wedlock, and then later find out the child isn’t yours, you could potentially ask for an annulment. If you can prove the spouse knew the child was someone else’s, and lied saying it was yours – this could be reasonable grounds.
Even when a case of fraud is proven, courts can decide that it is outweighed by other variables. For example, if the marriage has been in session for a long time – it’s harder to annul. Consummated marriages, are harder to annul than unconsummated marriages. If you have children, it will be difficult to annul the marriage – even if fraud is a contributing factor behind the marriage.
In many states, there is an “essentials of the marriage,” test – which restricts annulments based on fraud that touches upon the very definition of marriage. For example, if a spouse lies about pregnancy, infertility, impotence, diseases, or willingness to have children – then this a more solid footing for request annulment. Based on our experience, any fraud that relates to the ability for the marriage to be consumated – resulting in more children, is more likely to result in annulment. If you try to get the marriage annuled due to things like character defects, financial fraud, or other things that don’t touch directly to your ability to consummate the marriage – it’s harder to get the fraud accepted and the marriage annulled.