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Today’s society is dedicated to the do-it-yourself revolution. Unfortunately, many try to handle legal battles on their own in an effort to save money. Filing a case pro-se can be advantageous in some situations, however, when it comes to an annulment, it is best to leave it in the hands of a professional. An annulment is not like a divorce or dissolution. There are stipulations that must be met for the petition to be granted. Annulling a marriage is saying that it was fraudulent or never existed.
Grounds for an Annulment
Some people believe that if their marriage is too short that they can annul it. Unfortunately, the length of the marriage has nothing to do this matter. The marriage must be considered legally “void” or “voidable.” Moreover, the requirements are very specific for the court to grant this action. They will insist on proof that the union should be invalidated. Leaving for any other reason will not work.
Reasons to Void a Marriage
There are several grounds to ask for a “void” marriage. For instance, if you were not lawfully permitted to enter into the union, the marriage would be invalid. This would occur when a person was already married and enters into a second marriage. The law considers this act “bigamy” and it is a punishable offense. If the person requesting the annulment, has a spouse that was married before they married them, they will need to file for divorce and not to for an annulment. The state doesn’t always have knowledge of these things when they issue a marriage license. They depend on honesty from the applicants.
Another reason that a marriage can be void is if you have married a close relative. These marriages are considered to be “Incest, Consanguinity and Affinity” under the law. In most states, a person cannot marry their parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandparents, step-grandparents, children, or grandchildren. These rules also apply to family members on the spouse’s side. An exception to the rule is that a man can choose to marry his son’s wife. However, a woman cannot marry her daughter’s husband, but the woman can marry her husband’s father. The laws get really confusing when it comes to relative relations. Only an attorney can ensure that you have a true basis to void the marriage.
Understanding Voidable Marriages
A voidable marriage is a bit different. These types of unions can occur when one part is drunk or mentally ill at the time of the marriage. If one spouse is not capable of sexual intercourse, the marriage can be canceled. Most states require a party to be 18 years of age unless they have parental consent. Getting married underage is considered a “voidable” marriage. If there was some sort of fraud in the marriage, the court will annul the union if it goes to the heart of the marriage.
Historically, annulments for deception were fixated on sexual relations and the capability to have children. Courts will also find fraud where one person had ulterior motives for the union. For example, marrying for immigration reasons is considered a crime and a reason for a “voidable” marriage. One party may be in love but the other party was just using them. Many misleading or deceitful acts, though, will not be grounds for an annulment. Furthermore, if you should have known about the fraudulent, or were a party to it, then the annulment will not be granted.
Legal Help is Advised
With so many stipulations and requirements, it is easy to see why it is imperative to have legal representation in this type of proceeding. Yes, you can file for an annulment yourself, but you should save yourself the trouble and get any attorney.