How to annul a marriage

Written by heather orr
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How to annul a marriage
(a man and a woman with documents image by Sergii Shalimov from

Ending a marriage with an annulment is different from ending it in divorce. An annulment states that the marriage never even existed because it was not entered into under legal terms. Therefore, in the majority of states, an annulment means that neither person is entitled to alimony or division of property, such as in a divorce. Instead, both parties leave the marriage with only what they brought into it, the possessions and debt in their name. People typically seek an annulment for religious purposes. The grounds for an annulment include bigamy, impotence (physical inability to consummate marriage), fraud, forced consent, mental illness and failure to receive consent for an underage marriage. It can be extremely difficult to annul a marriage, because it is usually hard to prove that the marriage failed to qualify as a legally binding civil contract.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Consult an attorney. Annulments are so difficult to prove that it is probably best for you to solicit the services of a lawyer. An attorney is not required to annul a marriage, but it is usually recommended.

  2. 2

    Pay the filing fee with the court clerk.

  3. 3

    File the petition for the annulment with the court. Explain the grounds for the annulment.

  4. 4

    The court will now serve the petition to your spouse, informing him of the annulment proceedings.

  5. 5

    Prove your case in court. Annulment proceedings are similar to divorce hearings. Once you have received the annulment, the marriage contract is null and void.

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