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Laws on getting a marriage annulled varies from state to state. Not only do the rules for statutes of limitation depend on the state, but the reason for the annulment may complicate the matter. Your time limit to use this option to end your marriage depends on your circumstances. In some cases, time is limited; in others, time may last a lifetime if your spouse does not die before you.
Unlawful marriages, also known as void marriages, are unions that are not legally recognized because they are against the law in most states. One type of that fits into this category is an incestuous marriage when you marry a blood relative.
Another type of void marriage is if you or your spouse is married to two or more people at the same time, such as bigamy or polygamy. This holds true even if you were not aware of the first marriage at the time of the wedding.
These marriages are usually annulled if you and your spouse are still alive, since the marriage was never valid.
Unlike void marriages, voidable marriages are considered legal with extreme flaws. Essentially, the law says these marriages should not be recognized. An example is if your spouse forced you or tricked you into marriage.
Another example is if either you or your spouse did not understand that you were entering into a marriage union due to mental incapacitation. You could also have a voidable marriage if you or your spouse is impotent. While these are reasons to declare a voidable marriage, statutes of limitation in most states vary.
Some state laws give you a few months after the wedding to file; others may give spouses several years. The timeframe to file usually starts on the date you find out about the circumstances that makes the union voidable.
Marriages Involving Minors
Marrying under the age of consent and without parental permission could lead to getting the marriage annulled. The statutes of limitation often depend on the ages of the married couple at the time an annulment is requested.
For instance, some states will not annul the marriage if the filing occurs after minors reach adulthood. That is, in Ohio and California, the statute is two years after reaching 18 years of age.
Other Restrictions and Considerations
In some states, the statute of limitations exist regardless to the grounds for requesting the annulment. For example, Virginia gives you two years to annul an avoidable marriage. In addition, you cannot have lived with your spouse after learning of the situation that makes the marriage voidable.
There are some states that require more than alleging to have grounds for an annulment. You will also have to prove these grounds to the court. Because this can take longer, it might affect whether you can meet the statute of limitation for that particular state.
If your spouse was already married when he or she married you, the court will need a copy of the marriage certificate and proof that the two were never divorced. You may also have to prove that the other spouse is still alive.