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A marriage annulment is similar to a divorce. It ends a marriage. An annulment can be more complicated than a divorce. It requires an order from a court that makes the marriage void or invalid. Once this is granted, it is as if the marriage never occurred. There are individuals who want to have an annulment because they do not want to have the stigma associated with being divorced.
Legal vs. Religious
Civil annulments are granted as part of a legal procedure, they have nothing to do with a religious annulment. Only clergy or a church can grant a person a religious annulment. These types of annulments will not have any impact on a person’s legal marital status.
In the state of New York, there is no time limit requirement for obtaining an annulment. This is because the marriage is not deemed to be valid. No matter how much time passes, it won’t make it a valid marriage. The grounds for an annulment will always have to be established.
The state of New York acknowledges five different grounds for people to be granted an annulment for their marriage.
*At the time of the marriage, one or both of the spouses were under the legal age for being married.
*Consent for the marriage was given because of fraud, duress or coercion
*At the time of the marriage, one or both spouses could not legally consent to marriage due to mental incapacity.
*Prior to the marriage one spouse suffered from incurable mental illness for a period of five years.
*One or both spouses is not physically capable of engaging in sexual intercourse.
There are certain legal considerations when one or both spouses are underage at the time they enter into a marriage. It is grounds for annulment. Should one or both of the underage spouses continue to freely cohabitate together after reaching the age of consent, the grounds for an annulment because of being underage is waived.
It is possible for a court to annul a marriage because one of the spouses is determined to have incurable insanity. Should the spouse with the mental illness have a period of being of sound mind, and both spouses continue living as a married couple, the marriage is legally ratified. Any grounds for an annulment based on mental illness are then waived. This is the case even if the mental illness of one spouse returns.
One of the accepted grounds for annulment is fraud. This can be waived by the couple if they continue to cohabitating after the fraud of their marriage is discovered. Should an innocent spouse uncover fraud and not separate or live apart from the spouse who committed the fraud, it may be waived. Doing this is considered ratifying the marriage by the innocent spouse. This will eliminate fraud as grounds for an annulment of the marriage. Fraud could include a number of different situations.
*Intentionally marrying someone for the sole purpose of obtaining a green card for immigration status.
*One spouse claims they want to have children but have no intention of having children.
*Claiming a pregnancy as motivation for someone to agree to a marriage.
Should a couple voluntarily cohabitate after marriage as husband and wife, they can’t annul their marriage on the grounds of duress or force. This is not permitted in the state of New York.
Marriage Annulment Process
In order for a couple in New York to have their marriage annulled, it will require a trial as well as a hearing in front of a judge. With an annulment, the grounds for this legal action must be proven in court. Paperwork must be filed with the court. Evidence proving the grounds for annulment will have to be presented. This could include witnesses as well as documents and more.
Children, Support After Annulment
When an annulment is granted in New York, the marriage is voided. This legal action does not change the legitimacy of any children conceived during the marriage. Any children who are born during a time when the parents are considered in a lawful state of marriage are considered legitimate. This is the case even if a marriage is annulled. Child support or child custody will not be affected if an annulment is granted. It is considered an establishment of paternity.
An annulment will end a marriage like a divorce. An annulment is different, it voids the union between the two married people. It is only authorized in limited circumstances. Should anyone believe they have grounds to have their marriage annulled, they should contact a New York attorney. They will know if a marital situation meets the requirements of an annulment and how best to move forward with it.