Some married couples not only want to separate from their spouse, but would like to pretend that the marriage never even happened. While divorce is the best option for most couples, in some cases, an annulment may be possible. If you have questions about annulment and whether or not your marriage is eligible for an annulment, Attorney Heather M. Ward can help. In the meantime, here’s what you should know–
What Is an Annulment?
Unlike a divorce, if an annulment is granted in Massachusetts, this is the equivalent of a court declaring that a marriage was never legally valid. As such, a person who has a marriage annulled can legally say that they have not been married in the past. An annulment voids a marriage, declaring that it was never legitimate; a divorce terminates what was a legally valid union.
Who Can Get an Annulment in Massachusetts?
Annulments are rarely granted in our state and in order to have a marriage annulled, very specified criteria must be satisfied. As explained on Mass.gov, you must prove that a marriage is either void or voidable in order to have the marriage annulled. This means that, contrary to popular belief, you can’t have your marriage annulled simply because you’ve decided to separate after a very short amount of time – i.e., you were married last week and have decided today that you no longer want to be married.
There are six criteria that make a marriage void or voidable. You only need to satisfy one of the six in order for your marriage to be annulled:
- The marriage was based on fraud. For example, if one party claimed themselves to be pregnant in order to force the marriage when they were not pregnant, or if the marriage was performed for immigration reasons and only one party was privy to this information, the marriage is voidable.
- One spouse was under the legal age to marry. The legal age to get married is 18 in our state.
- One spouse is incapable of sexual intercourse.
- One spouse was mentally incompetent at the time of marriage and could not consent. If a party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for example, at the time that the marriage took place, they may not have been able to consent.
- The marriage involves relatives. It is against the law in Massachusetts to marry an immediate relative. Refer to the law about who is included in this category if you have questions.
- The marriage involves bigamy/polygamy. In Massachusetts, you are only allowed to be married to one person at a time. If either spouse was already married to someone else at the time of the new marriage, then the marriage is void.
Get Help from a Family Law Attorney You Can Trust
If you need help seeking an annulment or a divorce, Attorney Heather M. Ward is available to assist you. With years of experience, the Law Office of Heather M. Ward can competently guide you through your options and advocate for you throughout your case. Call (617) 903-8955 today or send our law firm a message online at your convenience to schedule a consultation and get started on your divorce or annulment case.