A marriage annulment legally ends a marriage. An annulment is considerably different than a divorce or separation because an annulment makes it as though the marriage never occurred. However, not all marriages can be annulled. In order to have an annulment granted, certain criteria must be met.
Age Could Be a Factor
An annulment will be granted by the court if an individual is not of legal age of consent. However, if the underage individual reaches adult age before seeking an annulment, an annulment is unlikely to be granted.
Incest Grounds of Annulment
Most incestuous marriages--a marriage between blood relatives--are eligible for annulments. In most states, an incestuous relationship is considered to be people with blood relations closer than second cousins.
Getting married while mentally incapacitated can be grounds for annulment. This can refer to incompetence or being in a chemically altered state. If a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage ceremony, the marriage could be annulled.
Fraud and Annulments
Fraud or deception can provide justification for an annulment. According to attorney Aaron Larson of the website expertlaw.com, this can sometimes, but not always, cover an inability to produce children, a criminal history or an infection with a sexually transmitted disease.
Can't Be Forced
If someone is forced, coerced or put under duress to marry, the marriage can be annulled because the marriage was not undertaken by a person operating on his or her free will.
A religious annulment is another type of annulment and grounds are similar to those of a civil annulment. This type of annulment is granted by a church instead of the court and is not necessarily legally recognised by the state.