What if there was a way to erase your marriage as if it never happened? Luckily, there might be. This procedure is known as an "annulment."
Similar to a divorce, an annulment is a legal procedure used to designate the end of a marriage. An annulment goes farther than a divorce decree, because it legally voids the marriage. As a result, the law does not recognize that the marriage ever existed.
There are four reasons Pennsylvania courts will consider a marriage invalid and grant an annulment, including:
- One of the spouses was under 18 years old at the time of the marriage.
- The spouses were cousins or close relatives.
- One of the spouses was already legally married to someone else.
- One of the spouses lacked the mental ability to legally consent.
Similarly, courts can void a valid marriage under certain circumstances. First, if the spouses were under 16 years old when they got married and their parents did not give legal consent. Second, if one of the spouses was intoxicated at the time of the marriage. Third, if one of the spouses was physically unable to engage in sexual intercourse during the marriage. Fourth, if one of the spouses was forced into the marriage.
There are many benefits of an annulment. If a court legally voids a marriage, it can make property division much easier for the spouses. Additionally, annulments can make a prenuptial agreement invalid. Like a divorce, an annulment also provides spouses the benefit of allowing them to remarry.
Unfortunately, religious annulments and legal annulments are completely separate. If a couple receives an annulment through their religious institution, they would still need an annulment from the courts to legally remarry. If you are considering an annulment or divorce, it can be beneficial to speak with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options.