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Annulling a Marriage

The process of annulling a marriage can be emotionally and psychologically draining. It is the dissolution of a marriage and the end of a life chapter. Some have likened it to a kind of death and indeed the emotional toll is tantamount to grieving for a loved one that has passed away. 

For those who don't understand the difference between divorce and annulment: the latter involves a decree that marriage was invalid from its outset. It involves a procedure that declares a marriage null and void. The marriage is considered never to have existed. The former, on the other hand, brings a valid marriage to an end. Annulment can be available during a myriad of circumstances. Here are a few examples:

  • You and your wife are actually close biological relatives like a parent and stepchild, aunt and nephew, etc.
  • You or your wife or husband did not have enough mental capacity to enter into the marriage in the first place, whether from a disability or intoxication
  • One of you was underage when entering the marriage
  • One of you entered the marriage under threat of violence
  • One of you concealed vital information such as a criminal history, sterility or impotence, or having a sexually transmitted disease.

Annulment may also be available when one of the spouses was already legally married to another living person during the time of the marriage. Some places see this as bigamy and consider the marriage void from the beginning, therefore annulment is not necessary. Other causes of annulment could for example include: the commitment of adultery; one of the couple killed the spouse of the other in order to be free to marry; marriage through abduction in order to obtain consent; deception of one partner, or the concealment of truth, and had the partner known of the truth, would not have given his or her consent to marry.

It is best to look at annulment as a new beginning rather than a painful end. Like death, annulling a marriage undergoes stages such as grief, avoidance and denial, but eventually also acceptance. There are several clauses involved in an annulment that is considered a special case, and in this case someone such as a lawyer should be consulted. Furthermore, emotional help should be sought out: talk to close friends and relatives about some frustrations or apprehensions.

Find Helpful Resources Online

There are various resources online that may help you through each stage you are experiencing. For legal purposes, the official government site of the state where you plan to file the annulment might be helpful in order for you to better understand the steps you are about to go through. States like California have online resources that allow you to read through contested cases and other related scenarios.

Forums such as JustAnswer can also be helpful in terms of finding other people who are going through the same annulment process. You can compare cases, seek emotional help, or even air out frustrations. Plus, it's an easy way to have your questions answered in layman's terms. You also get to chat with lawyers who are available online to seek legal aid.