Annulment of divorce is highly unusual and can only occur in very limited situations. Typically, in order to qualify for an annulment your marriage needs to be legally invalid. It might have been legally invalid from the beginning or it might become legally invalid further down the line.
It can be hard to determine whether you are eligible for an annulment, so you should always speak to an experienced divorce solicitor, who will be able to advise you on the options open to you.
What is annulment?
In order to annul a marriage, a court needs to declare that it is legally invalid and that it therefore cannot continue. Unlike divorce, you don’t need to have been married for a year in order to qualify for an annulment, but most annulments take place within three years of marriage.
Why might I consider an annulment?
There are various reasons you might need to consider an annulment for your marriage:
• If you or your spouse was aged under 16 when you married.
• If you or your spouse was already married when you married.
• If you were not a male/female couple.
• If one or both of you did not consent to the marriage [ eg a forced marriage].
• If your spouse was pregnant with someone else’s child (as long as you had no knowledge of this prior to the marriage).
• If the proper marriage procedure and correct forms were not followed.
How long does annulment take?
The length of time an annulment takes will depend on your particular case. You might find that it takes longer than average if your spouse objects to the annulment. On average, the process can normally be expected to take between 6 and 8 months as long as the case is not contested.
Do I have to go to court?
Yes, you will need to make a court appearance in order to qualify for an annulment. You solicitor will be able to advise you on this when the time comes and they’ll also be able to assist you in gathering all the necessary evidence you might need in order to prove that your marriage is invalid.
If the case is contested by your spouse then you might need to make more than one court appearance, depending on how long the case goes on for. Sometimes, cases can be long and complicated so you should be prepared for this when seeking an annulment, just in case any issues do arise with your case.
As these situations are often emotionally sensitive and difficult for people, it is important that they are handled properly. Good legal advice from an experienced family law solicitor will help to guide you through the process, making sure you know your options and that you informed about what is going on at every step of the way.
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