What Is the Procedure for Getting an Annulment?


Quick Answer

The procedure for filing a civil annulment of a marriage, which state governments grants following a court proceeding, involves proving fraud, an underage spouse, bigamy, incest or lack of consummation, reports Nolo. Other grounds for civil annulment include coercion into marriage, and a spouse with mental issues or intoxication during the marriage ceremony. A civil annulment of a long-term marriage also requires division of debts and assets and arrangement for visitation, custody, child support and spousal support.

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Full Answer

In most cases, spouses file an annulment shortly after the marriage, usually after several weeks or months, which is why dividing assets or negotiating child support, custody or visitation rights are not necessary, notes Nolo. After getting a civil divorce, couples sometimes file a religious annulment, which the Roman Catholic Church or other religious institutions grant, to remarry with the approval of the church.

The grounds for getting a religious annulment include a lack of emotional stability, or a lack of voluntary decision to marry, maturity or honesty, reports FindLaw. A spouse may also obtain a religious annulment if the other spouse lacks adequate motivation or the ability to maintain a loving marital relationship.

Both civil and religious annulment types dissolve a marriage and erase its existence, states FindLaw. The Catholic Church has a diocesan tribunal that determines whether a couple's marriage lacks an essential component to be considered a valid bond.

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