In an annulment a marriage is voided. What is a voided marriage? It’s when the law treats a marriage as if it never existed.  Let’s take a look at a few of the facts:

Grounds for Annulment of Marriage

Marriage Invalid

A no fault divorce can occur when a couple agrees that they want to dissolve the marriage and there are no disputes involving support, property, custody or other matters.  However, when a couple annuls a marriage it is because the marriage is invalid for some reason.  Under Pennsylvania law, a marriage can be annulled for four reasons 1) one of both spouses’ mental state was impaired when they married, 2)  one or both parties were unable to give valid consent to the married 3) the marriage is illegal and 4) the marriage cannot be consummated.

Mentally Impaired State

Couples seeking an annulment on the grounds that one or both parties were mentally impaired when they married, must work with a qualified PA divorce lawyer to prove their case. Below are a few examples of mental impairment.

  1. Marriage agreed to while intoxicated or on drugs.
  2. One or both parties were coerced into the marriage.
  3. One spouse entered into the marriage because they relied on false information.

Legally Unable To Give Consent

If one or both spouses are under the age of 16 in the state of Pennsylvania, they are not allowed to consent to marriage without the permission of the state or their parents. A minor who married could annul the marriage on the grounds that they were not legally able to give their consent, therefore the marriage is void.

If one or both parties are underage, they might not be allowed an uncontested divorce. Underage couples are better suited for an annulment if the marriage was performed recently. In Pennsylvania an annulment because of the inability to give consent must be done within 60 days of the marriage in most cases, there are some exceptions.  Underage parties cannot seek an annulment several years after they fact. 

The Marriage Is Illegal

An illegal marriage is eligible for annulment at anytime.  Illegal marriages include:

  1. Marriages which are polygamous.
  2. Marriages which are incestuous.

Once again, if the annulment is granted, the law treats the marriage as if it never existed. However, if the parties don’t care if the marriage is voided and they only want to divorce, filing an online divorce may be a better option because of the impact annulment can have on finances and family life.

Difficulties with Pennsylvania Annulment

Getting an annulment can become both complex and expensive especially if there are children and marital assets involved.  Since an annulment voids the marriage, winning one could have wider ramifications that the couple should discuss with a PA divorce lawyer.

Issues such as alimony, child custody and the division of property are not decided in an annulment; but they could be adversely impacted.  Before you file for an annulment in Pennsylvania consider if it would benefit you to file for divorce instead.