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Annulment of Marriage - Marriage Solicitors

If you are considering an annulment, it is advised that you speak to a solicitor to discuss your options. At Forbes, our divorce solicitors can help guide you through the annulment process with expert and straightforward advice.

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What is Annulment of Marriage?

An annulment of marriage is the decree that a marriage is void. The annulment (also known as nullity) is ordered when the court decides that the marriage is not valid. The annulment of marriage is regarded like it had never existed unlike a divorce. Afterwards, the two parties are each free to marry another person.

As with divorce, an annulment is a means to end a marriage, however, unlike divorce, you don't have to wait a year and can annul a marriage any time after the wedding.

In order to annul a marriage, you either need to prove that the marriage was not valid in the first place or that is has become substantially flawed or defective.

Reasons a marriage is considered invalid or 'void' can include:

  • If one or both parties are under the age of 16
  • If you discover that you and your partner are closely related
  • If one party was already married or in a civil partnership at the time of the wedding

Reasons a marriage may have become substantially flawed may include:

  • If the marriage wasn't consummated (although this doesn't apply to same-sex couples)
  • If one or both parties did not consent to the marriage or was forced into it
  • If one party had a sexually transmitted disease at the time of the wedding
  • If the woman was pregnant by another man at the time of the wedding

There are two types of annulments; a legal and religious annulment. Under the Catholic Church, you can get an annulment through a church tribunal and an annulment of marriage can be given by a local bishop. Typical reasons for a religious annulment include adultery at the time of the marriage, abortion, or one half of the couple lacking religious faith. If an annulment is granted, then any second marriages will be recognised by the church. It is important to remember that a religious annulment is not a legal one. To ensure that all ties are severed, and that the marriage is no longer recognised under law, you must also obtain a legal marriage annulment. A religious annulment is not recognized in English law.

A legal annulment falls into two categories:

  • Void
  • Voidable

A void marriage will be, in theory, treated as though it never happened. Therefore, you don't have to seek an annulment from the Court. However, we would always recommend doing so as it may cause problems if you wish to remarry in future. In a voidable marriage, the marriage is still valid until a Decree of Nullity is granted by the Court.

How to annul a marriage?

If you want to annul a marriage, you must first fill in a nullity petition, which your solicitor can help you with. You then need to send two copies of this to your nearest divorce Court and pay the fee.

Once you have done this, the other party has eight days to respond to your nullity petition, to let the Court know whether or not they agree that the marriage should be annulled. If they agree, you can then fill in an application for a 'decree nisi' and a statement in support of annulment, which confirms that what you said in your nullity petition is true. Again, your solicitor will be able to help you with this.

Finally, six weeks after you get your decree nisi, you can apply for a decree absolute, which is the final legal document stating that the marriage has been legally annulled.

If you are considering an annulment, it is advised that you speak to a solicitor to discuss your options.

Can a marriage be annulled if not consummated?

If the marriage was not consummated, then it is possible to have your marriage annulled. However, this does not apply to same-sex couples. If you would like to annul your marriage, speak to our Marriage Annulment Solicitors today on 0800 689 1058.

When can a marriage be annulled in the UK?

A marriage can be annulled in the UK if it is not considered legally valid or is flawed. Your marriage is void or voidable if:

  • You're closely related to the person you married
  • Both of you were under the age of 16 at the time of the marriage
  • One half of the couple was already married or in a civil partnership
  • You did not consent to the marriage (e.g. forced marriage)
  • The other person had a sexually transmitted disease when you got married
  • Your new wife was pregnant by someone else when you got married
  • One half of a couple is in the process of transitioning to a different gender
  • The marriage wasn't consummated (this does not apply to same-sex couples)

When seeking an annulment, it is possible for the Court to stop a person for applying for an annulment of marriage. This could be due to evidence showing that the person knew about the situation behand and accepted it.

If you cannot annul your marriage, then you will need to follow the procedure for divorce. This means you will have to wait a year before starting divorce procedures.

If you wish to annul your marriage due to one of the above reasons, then contact our Annulment Solicitors today.

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