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As many people learn the hard way, marriage is not a guarantee that couple will be together for the rest of their lives. At times, situations take place that make it in the best interests of both parties to split. Under the right circumstances, an annulment can be obtained rather than have to go through a divorce.
Physical Impairment as Grounds for Annulling a Marriage
While laws vary from one jurisdiction to another, it would be hard to find any judge who would deny an annulment if the reason had to do with what’s known as physical impairment. Simply put, this means that one or both of the spouses are not physically capable of consummating the marriage.
There are multiple ways that physical impairment could have an impact on the ability to consummate the legal union. A male with a chronic illness like type 1 or type 2 diabetes may be unable to achieve or sustain an erection long enough to manage penetration. A woman with any condition that causes severe fatigue or makes it impossible to enjoy any type of touching would also be considered to have a physical impairment.
Keep in mind that physical impairment does not generally rule out the possibility that the couple can and possibly has engaged in some type of intimate play designed to compensate for whatever condition exists. The focus is on the fact that the couple has not been able to include conventional intercourse in that play.
Can Fraud Also Be Named Along With Physical Impairment?
There is also the matter of when the partner with the physical impairment chose to reveal the fact to the other party. If the information was not shared prior to the wedding ceremony and the subsequent signing of the marriage license, a judge could determine there was a deliberate attempt to mislead the party seeking the annulment.
Given that part of the marriage contract includes a reasonable expectation for physical intimacy to take place, the other party is not given all the information needed to provide an informed answer to the proposal. In this scenario, it is possible that the judge would allow dual grounds of impairment and fraud.
Why Seek an Annulment Instead of Divorcing?
When consummating the marriage is not possible, seeking an annulment makes sense for more than one reason. One has to do with simplicity. Since the judge is ruling that the marriage was never legitimate in the first place, many of the rules and procedures that apply to a divorce do not apply. Instead, it’s as if the marriage never took place.
This is important, since it means the each party can walk away and still retain whatever assets they held before the marriage took place. Laws related to community property don’t generally apply when a union is annulled.
Learning that a partner is incapable of engaging in what many consider to be a key element in any marriage can be emotionally crushing. When there is no way to salvage the situation, choosing to move on and hopefully find someone new is the only practical thing to do. Talk with an attorney and find out more about how an annulment can be obtained in the local jurisdiction. Doing so will be the fastest and least complicated way to end things and start looking to the future.