Annulment FAQs

Annulment — Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My spouse and I have only been married for a few weeks. Can I file for an annulment?

A. Getting an annulment does not depend on how long you have been married or in a domestic partnership. Even if you have been married/in a partnership only a very short time, you may not be able to prove to the judge that your case has 1 of the legal reasons that makes your marriage/partnership invalid.  Learn the legal reasons for an annulment of a marriage or registered domestic partnership.

Q. What are the legal reasons for an annulment?

A. A marriage is NEVER legally valid when it is:

  • Incestuous: when the people who are married or in a registered domestic partnership are close blood relatives; or
  • Bigamous: where a spouse or domestic partner is already married to or in a registered domestic partnership with someone else.

Other marriages and partnerships can be declared invalid because of:

  • Age at the time of marriage or domestic partnership: the party filing for the annulment was under 18 years old at the time of the marriage or domestic partnership.

  • Prior existing marriage or domestic partnership: Either party was already legally married or in a registered domestic partnership. This is different from bigamy (which is automatically illegal) because, in this case, the marriage or domestic partnership took place after the former spouse or domestic partner was absent for 5 years and not known to be living or generally thought to be dead.

  • Unsound mind: either party was of “unsound mind” or unable to understand the nature of the marriage or domestic partnership, including the obligations that come with it.

  • Fraud: Either party got married or registered the domestic partnership as a result of fraud. The fraud must have been about something vital to the relationship that directly affected why the party who was deceived agreed to the marriage or domestic partnership. Some examples are marrying only to get a green card or hiding the inability to have children.

  • Force: either party consented to getting married or filing a domestic partnership as a result of force.

  • Physical incapacity: the parties got married or registered a domestic partnership while 1 of them was “physically incapacitated” (basically, it means that 1 of the spouses or partners was physically incapable of “consummating” the relationship) and the incapacity continues and appears to be “incurable.”

To get an annulment, you must be able to prove to the judge that 1 of these reasons is true in your case.  Proving that there is a legally valid reason to get an annulment can be very difficult. Talk to a lawyer for help understanding exactly what you need to show to a judge before he or she will agree to give you an annulment. Click for help finding a lawyer.

Q. What happens if the court denies my request for an annulment?

A. You can file an “amended” petition changing your request from an annulment to a divorce or legal separation. You would then follow the instructions and steps required to get divorced or legally separated, including meeting the residency requirements (living for at least 6 months in the state and at least 3 months in the county where you would file your amended petition).

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