What Is Marriage Annulment?


Are you confused about the difference between annulment and divorce? Here at the Law Offices of Divorce Attorneys San Jose CA, we would like to share the definition of annulment and what makes it different from a divorce.

Annulment is the nullification of a marriage. Filing for and receiving an annulment states that the marriage did not legally exist. Every marriage does not qualify for an annulment, for they must be based on mental illness, fraud, incapacity to consummate the marriage, underage marriage, forced consent, or bigamy.

Divorce ends a legal marriage and includes the division of property and assets, custody of children, etc., and is the most common dissolution of marriage. An annulment can only be awarded to a husband or wife if they prove one or more of the following elements for nullification:

  • Either of the spouses has another living spouse they are still married to.
  • One of the parties is under the age of sixteen and did not have court approval.
  • One or both of the parties are sixteen or seventeen and do not have parental consent, and it has been less than 60 days since the ceremony.
  • Either of the parties is mentally incompetent, or were forced to get married.
  • Either of the parties was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and it is within the 60-day time frame for annulment on these grounds.
  • One of the parties made fraudulent claims to influence the other to get married.
  • If the marriage cannot be physically consummated. This does not apply if the spouse was aware of the physical incapability before the marriage.
  • If the marriage resulted as a joke, or jest, in which one or both of the spouses did not intend to bind or enter into a legal relationship with the other.
  • If the marriage is illegal due to incestuous relationships.

There are different laws that are in effect according to the state of residency. Each state has different qualifications for annulment and divorce. Consulting with an experienced attorney can answer any location-specific annulment law.


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