Definition of Annulment
An annulment is similar to a divorce, but after the dissolution of the marriage it is as if the marriage did not occur. There are very specific grounds for an annulment which can include fraud or misrepresentation (one spouse is already married), concealment (one spouse has a criminal history or drug addiction), incest, the couple is too closely related by blood, a misunderstanding, one spouse was too young to consent to the marriage, one partner did not have a sound mind and could not understand the marriage agreement, one partner forced the other to consent, or one spouse refuses or does not have the ability to have sexual intercourse with their spouse.
Annulments are most common if the couple has been married for a short time. They are also used for religious reasons. For example, in the Catholic Church for someone to remarry their marriage must be annulled.
To receive an annulment the court will expect evidence to prove a marriage is not valid. The annulment must also be requested within a specified timeframe after the marriage, which can vary by reason. Because it is difficult to prove valid reasons for an annulment, individuals considering annulment may wish to speak with an attorney.