Does your marriage qualify for an annulment?

While divorce rates in the United States hover around 50 percent, Kentucky falls in the top 10 list of states with the most divorces in the country. In 2015, the last year on record, 50.1 percent of the population was married while 13.2 percent were divorced, with 2.2 percent separated in Kentucky. Divorce is a word commonly used in society, but few understand the details of an annulment, which can also end a marriage.

Defining an annulment

A marriage that ends in an annulment is one that was never valid in the first place. The benefit of an annulment is that it is as if the marriage never even existed. You may regret the choice to marry your spouse, but that is not enough evidence to support an annulment. Laws are different in every state, but the general definition is that the marriage never existed within the bounds of the law.

Grounds for annulment

For a marriage to be annulled, the reasons for divorce must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Fraud – If one party misrepresented information or was not truthful when entering the marriage, fraud may be grounds for an annulment.
  • Intoxication – If either party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the marriage ceremony was performed, and it can be proved that one party did not understand the seriousness of the ceremony, intoxication may be grounds for annulment.
  • Insanity, mental illness or retardation – If the marriage involves an individual who is mentally retarded or mentally ill, and who could not knowingly make the decision to marry without help, this may be grounds for annulment. Some mentally ill people are considered incapable of giving proper consent.
  • Duress of lack of consent – If a threat of violence is used to compel one person to marry another, the marriage may be considered nonconsensual and can be annulled, although there must be an actual threat of serious violence involved.
  • Underage marriage – If a marriage is performed with a minor without parental consent, the marriage may be annulled.
  • Bigamy – If one party is already married when the ceremony is performed, annulment is a possibility.

Marriage may also be annulled in the case of incestuous marriage, which means no two individuals who are related by half or whole blood can be married. Temporary insanity is another reason to annul. If it is proved that one party had a period of temporary insanity during the time the marriage was performed, it may not be considered valid.

The details of annulment may be complicated, and there are many situations that fit within these guidelines. If you feel your marriage should be annulled and completely erased, feel free to contact an attorney today to discuss your options.