Like divorce, an annulment will end a marriage; however, a civil annulment works by legally declaring the marriage invalid or void through a court order, as if it never occurred in the first place. Annulments differ from divorces in that they address defects in a marital relationship happening at the time of the formation of the relationship. Therefore, if a marriage is illegally formed, when it is annulled, the parties regain their rights and responsibilities as they existed before the marriage took place. Annulments can also only be granted in certain situations.
Ohio has several “grounds” for annulment, including the following:
- Underage spouse (age of consent is 18 for males and 16 for females with parental consent
- Mental incompetence of one party
- Consent to marry obtained by fraud
- Consent to marry obtained by force
- Failure to consummate the marriage
In order to get an annulment, you or your attorney need to prove one of the above. A request for annulment in many of these cases must be brought within 2 years of the marriage or 2 years of discovering the issues. For example, if consent was obtained by fraud, and the fraud was discovered years later, you would still be able to apply for an annulment after the discovery.
To apply for an annulment, you need to file a petition with the court addressing the grounds for annulment. You then need to serve your spouse with the annulment papers. If you gained property and had children during the marriage, you will need a skilled attorney to help you manage child custody and division of property. A lawyer can also prepare you for the annulment court hearing.
If you’re unsure of how to begin, talk to one of our experienced West Chester family law attorneys. We can look at your situation and help you determine whether you are eligible for an annulment. The Meadows Law Firm can also help you file the correct paperwork with the court and represent you in the hearing if need be. Let us see what we can do for you and your family.
Contact us at our office or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today.