Can I Have my Marriage Annulled?
Under certain circumstances, a marriage that should not or could not legally have existed is performed without the knowledge that it is not valid. Such a marriage can be ended with an annulment, a process that is, in many cases, simpler than divorce. Marriages that qualify for annulment are one of two things — void or voidable, meaning it never actually existed, or it should not continue now that certain information has come to light. Once you determine which applies to your marriage you can submit a petition to have your marriage annulled.
New York’s grounds for annulment
The most commonly cited of the grounds for annulment is fraud. A marriage that took place while one party withheld significantly damaging information from the other can qualify that marriage for annulment. Other grounds include:
- Consanguinity — spouses are related in such a way that marriage between them is not legal
- Bigamy — one spouse is already married at the time of the marriage
- Inability to consummate the marriage — one partner is not able to have sexual relations
- Mental illness — one partner suffers from severe mental illness for a period of five years
- Inadequate mental capacity — one partner is not capable of understanding the implications or obligations of the marriage
- Coercion — one partner entered the marriage by force
Steps for getting a marriage annulled
In order to have your marriage annulled you must reside continuously in the state of New York for a period of one year. Once you have determined the grounds for your annulment and have gathered evidence to support your case, serve your spouse with the motion to annul the marriage. An attorney can assist you with this process and expedite proceedings. If there are children of the marriage or you own a substantial amount of property together you need to form an agreement regarding child support, time sharing and division of property as in a divorce.
If you have any questions about your eligibility for an annulment, consult with a Buffalo area family law attorney about your specific case.