In the United States, virtually half of all married couples will end their marriages. While most get a divorce, others decide to take more drastic action and seek an annulment. When they do this, they are asking the court to declare that from a legal standpoint, the marriage never took place. However, because annulments are not as common as divorces, there are many facts people need to be made aware of prior to choosing this option.
Who Can Initiate an Annulment?
One important fact to remember about annulments is that they can be initiated by either the husband or wife. Whichever party initiates annulment proceedings, it is up to them to prove there are grounds so severe that the marriage should be considered null and void.
In some situations, couples may decide to be impulsive and get married to one another after a night of partying. Unfortunately, when the next day arrives, they may realize their mistake and seek an annulment. According to the law, if either party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and was unable to make informed consent, an annulment may be sought.
Bigamy and Fraud
Surprisingly, bigamy and fraud are some of the main reasons people seek annulments. If one or both parties were already married to someone else when their marriage took place, they may seek an annulment. This goes along with fraud, which is defined as one spouse agreeing to the marriage due to the other person misrepresenting themselves.
Consummating the Marriage
One little-known fact is that a spouse can seek to annul a marriage if there is failure to consummate the marriage. According to the law, it either party was physically unable to have sexual relations or were impotent during the marriage, the court can be petitioned for an annulment.
A Court Trial is Required
Regardless of why an annulment is sought by either party, a court trial is required in order for the annulment to be granted. As a result, in many instances an annulment can prove to be a much more expensive legal remedy than a divorce. In fact, while the vast majority of people who end their marriages technically qualify to have them annulled, few choose to do so because of the time and money associated with the procedure. Generally, if children or property are involved in the split, a divorce is often recommended.
Regardless of whether a couple seeks a divorce or annulment, these and many other factors need to be taken into consideration prior to taking legal action. As with any situation of this nature, it’s best to speak with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. By doing so, one or both parties will have a better understanding of their rights, allowing the procedure to be done in a much more effective manner.