Annulment of marriage is a legal step towards declaring the marriage as void or null (meaning it’s a legal process of declaring marriage as invalid under the UK Jurisdiction mostly applicable in England and Wales). Furthermore, an annulment can declare marriage as ‘voidable marriage’ (legally valid but can be cancelled on specific grounds, i.e. forced marriage).
Hence, besides divorce, it’s another way of legally ending your marriage, especially when one of the former spouses disagrees with getting a divorce.
To apply for annulment in the UK, it is vital to meet the following residency criteria:
You must be living in Wales or England for at least a year
England or Wales is your permanent home (attach a domicile) for at least 6-months or so
Remember: Unlike getting a divorce, you can apply for annulment during the first year or any time after getting married. Nevertheless, you must state the prove of delay if you’d happened to apply after years.
For further information on applying for annulment of marriage and when you qualify, speak to one of our highly dedicated specialist Family law solicitors. So reach out immediately through a call at 0800 048 7573 or feel free to drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your marriage is considered legally invalid or ‘void’ on the following grounds if :
You are married to someone closely related in your family ancestry- consanguinity (incestual marriage)
One of the partners was under 16 at the time of marriage -child marriage
One of you was already married or in a civil partnership-bigamy
Fraud, drug abuse, mistreatment
Hence, under the aforestated grounds, you can apply for the annulment to have your marriage legally invalid. If you want to get remarried, it is essential to proceed through legal paperwork ( a.ka. Decree of nullity). Accordingly, you can then declare your marriage as legally invalid as if it never happened in the first place.
Your marriage is considered ‘voidable’ for the following reasons:
You were never agreed to enter a marital relation unless coerced into a marriage (Forced marriage)
Your marriage was never consummated
Your partner had a sexually transmitted disease at the time of your marriage
When you got married, your partner got conceived by someone else (through a polygamy/group marriage, etc.)
One of the partners is applying for the transition to another gender
Hence, as in the case of a divorce, your marriage can be annulled under the above grounds. Nevertheless, the legal procedure for ending your civil partnership would slightly vary. You are more likely the qualify for a divorce than an annulment, for the latter is difficult to obtain.
Steps to annul your marriage
As mentioned earlier, unlike divorce, you don’t have to wait longer or for at least a year or two to end your marriage/civil partnership.
Be sure to proceed to the following steps carefully:
Fill in a ‘nullity petition’ form: D89 wholly and correctly ( be sure to read the supporting notes to apply for annulment carefully)
Attach two sealed copies ( If you are attaching any order of the High Court, county court, or family court to your application/petition, etc.), send them to the divorce court nearby, and keep the original copies with you
Attach certified documents of marriage/civil partnership certification (if you are attaching an order of the Family Proceedings Court/magistrates’ court)
Pay the nullity petition charges of £550 ( if you are low on income, you can get help with court charges)
Remember: While the court may offer assistance for procedural matters, you can’t seek legal advice through a court unless you instruct a specialist family lawyer for further guidance on annulment.
When to apply for decree nisi:
Before applying for the decree nisi, your other partner has to duly agree by responding to a ‘nullity petition’ latest by day-8 of applying to an annulment of marriage. After the agreement, you can apply for the next step called a ‘decree nisi’ to further lay all the possible reasons a court can consider while proceeding towards an annulment.
Be sure to do the following procedures carefully:
Fill in the application form for decree nisi
Provide either (whichever is applicable in your situation)
The statement in support of annulment – void marriage or,
The statement in support of annulment – voidable marriage
Please note that the provision of these statements will confirm the nullity petition is valid on all the concrete grounds to dissolve your marriage/civil partnership by annulment.
Applying for the decree absolute on annulment of marriage:
Once you have succeeded with the decree nisi procedure, you can apply for the decree absolute within six weeks. Thus, this is the final step ( at this stage, it is referred to as a ‘decree of nullity) leading to a legal annulment. Be sure to fill in the notice of application for decree nisi to be absolute.
Court decision to annul your marriage
The court will decide by carefully assessing the following basis:
In case of any doubts, the court may object if there is no solid grounds to annul the marriage in the first place
If the court is satisfied with the provided proof/ statements in support of the annulment, your marriage will be legally annulled ( you will receive a decree of nullity from the court)
If your marriage was considered as legally invalid or ‘void’ marriage, the decree would confirm your marriage was never legal
For a successful court approval on your marriage annulment, you must demonstrate the following reasons:
To prove that your marriage/civil partnership was either void or voidable, you must explain either of the following situations.
Same-sex marriages, which are legally recognised as overseas relationships
Polygamous marriage ( this reason is only applicable and considerable if both the parties are married to each other)
Non- consummated marriage ( not applicable to the partners of same-sex)
No valid consent to a marriage because it was enforced
Mental or physical ailment ( you qualify to apply for annulment if you are intermittently suffering from a disorder that could restrict your obligations as a spouse
One of the spouses is suffering from a sexually transmitted disease such as Venereal disease. If you were unaware at the time of marriage, you qualify to annul your marriage
Another person conceives your partner at the time of marriage or civil partnership
Interim Gender Recognition certificate acquired by one of the partners
It is important to remember that a ‘void marriage’ automatically declares your marriage to be legally invalid, so you can easily qualify for the annulment given the grounds. However, in a ‘voidable marriage’ you will require legal reasons to apply for the dissolution.
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Unlike a divorce, getting an annulment any time after marriage may sound appealing, but there are legal grounds considered by a court to declare the marriage invalid and annulled. Nevertheless, proving either reason shall qualify you to apply for annulment of marriage anytime without waiting for a year or two of living together
You should know that getting a divorce is not the same as getting an annulment. Although both are pathways towards a marriage dissolution, divorce terminates a marriage that was legally valid before. Furthermore, the spouses are still obligated to contact each other based on the Child and financial agreements on divorce. Hence, due to a valid marital status before legally separating, both divorcing couples are obligated to Spousal support , joint child upbringing, and division of shared financial assets, including a family property if any.
On the contrary, if your marriage was annulled, you claim for the following rights based on the invalid marital status the first time you apply for annulment:
Spousal support (alimony)
Shared debts/ marital assets/property
Therefore, it is crucial to decide how you want to proceed towards marriage dissolution keeping in mind the effects of both getting a divorce or annulment will have once you end your civil partnership
While an annulment can affect spousal support or claim for the division of financial assets, it doesn’t affect the child custody/support (regardless of invalid marital status). Hence, while an annulment declares a marriage to be void or null, spouses still have the responsibility to look after the child. Hence, both couples have to agree on or decide who will make the child maintenance payments.
Alternatively, you can get help from an expert Family lawyer to make your agreement legally binding. We can further offer initial consultancy can apply for the child arrangements order. The same court forms will apply when deciding on child custody and support while considering the individual’s financial circumstances and the child’s positive upbringing.
Hence, if you are looking for professional legal help, approach our Divorce attorney with a wealth of experience in UK Family law. Call us anytime via 0800 048 7573 or feel free to drop an email at email@example.com.
If you struggling to draft statements in support of annulment of marriage or are not sure whether you have legal grounds to qualify for dissolving your marriage.
Approach our expert Family law and divorce solicitors for a time-efficient professional consultancy and expedite your process of an annulment for a better future ahead.