Unlike a divorce that dissolves a marriage, an annulment voids a marriage. You can only have your marriage annulled in limited circumstances. The fact that your marriage was only of a short term or you want to annul your marriage for religious reasons are not grounds for an annulment. If you want an annulment of a marriage, you need to know the rules for getting one to determine if this is a good option for you.
What Are the Grounds for an Annulment in Virginia?
You must file a legal proceeding to have your marriage annulled. You can also use an annulment proceeding to establish custody of children, child support, and alimony like in a divorce. The following are grounds for an annulment:
- One of the parties was mentally or physically incompetent.
- One of the spouses entered into the marriage due to fraud or duress.
- A party was a felon or prostitute, and the other party did not know this before the marriage.
- One party suffers with impotence.
- The wife was pregnant by another man, but the husband did not know of this.
- The husband fathered a child with another woman without the wife’s knowledge within 10 months of the marriage.
- There is no marriage license or the marriage was not solemnized according to Virginia law.
- One of the parties was married to someone else at the time of the marriage.
- The marriage involves incest, such as between a brother and sister.
- One of the parties is under 18 years old, except that a 17-year-old can be legally married with parental consent.
A critical requirement is that the parties not live together once one of these grounds for annulment are discovered.
An experienced family law attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for an annulment or whether you should instead file for divorce. This will avoid you going through the expense and time of filing the wrong type of action and starting the proceedings again. To speak to our family law team, fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.