Annulment is a declaration that your marriage was never valid and therefore that you were never married. The legal standard and process for a legal annulment is different than the standard that religions may use. You cannot receive an annulment if your marriage was valid when you entered it, but you can if it was not at the time that you got married. In some cases, a marriage that is not valid when entered is void and will never be valid. In other cases, the marriage is voidable and, although it wasn’t valid at the time you married, it may later become valid. Annulment is a complex legal issues and you should consult an attorney if you think you may have grounds for an annulment.
When Can an Annulment be Granted?
Annulments are rare because they can only be granted by a Court if you can prove that your marriage was never valid. Some of the grounds for a determination that your marriage was never valid in Missouri are:
Bigamy- If one or both of the spouses in your marriage were already married to and not divorced from a person still living at the time that your marriage occurred, then the marriage was not valid and the union can and should be annulled.
Duress- If one spouse is forced into the marriage and doesn’t consent, the marriage is not valid.
Fraud- If one spouse intentionally lies to the other spouse about one of the essential elements of marriage, then the marriage is not valid. The essential elements of marriage leave room for interpretation but have been found to include when one spouse has a sexually transmitted disease or has been convicted of a crime that they did not disclose and when marriage follows an untrue assertion that one spouse is pregnant with the other spouse’s child.
Under the Age of Consent- If one or both of the spouses in your marriage were under 18 at the time of the marriage, then the marriage is not valid unless each spouse who was under 18 at the time of the marriage had the written consent of their parent. If the proper consents were not obtained and one party is under 18, the marriage was not valid.
Lack of Capacity- If either of the spouses lacked the mental capacity to consent to the marriage at the time it took place, the marriage is not valid. This could be due to disability, illness, or senility. The inquiry is not based on whether the spouse has a known mental disability, illness, or some form of dementia, but whether, at the time of the marriage, the spouse understood the nature of the marriage relationship and the rights and responsibilities associated with being married.
Kinship- If the parties are related by blood in specific ways ( for example: parent and child, grand parent and grandchild, siblings, first cousins, or if one party is the others aunt or uncle), then the marriage is not valid.
Why would I want an Annulment instead of a Divorce?
While annulment is a complicated legal issue that may make it take longer to end your marriage, a determination that the marriage was never valid can have a lasting and significant impact on your life due to tax issues and the way it affects the distribution of assets and debts that would typically happen in a divorce.
In some cases, doesn’t matter and is quicker and easier to get divorced. In others, the large difference in the outcome or the desire to acknowledge that you were never really married to the other party is important to our client. Flesner Wentzel is willing and able to help those who decide that annulment is the best option for them.
Speak with a St. Charles Annulment Attorney
Are you trying to determine whether a divorce or annulment is the best option for you? Contact Flesner Wentzel for a consultation with a family law attorney. Call our office at 636-442-4529. Se habla Español.