The Legal Grounds for Annulment

Navigating the complexities of marriage laws can be as perplexing as the relationship dynamics that lead couples to consider options like divorce or annulment when things don't work out. In particular, annulment is a legal option that most people are minimally familiar with and typically unsure about.

Annulment is a legal procedure that essentially undoes a marriage. Unlike divorce, which ends a legally recognized marriage, annulment declares that the marital status never existed in the eyes of the law. You may have numerous personal, religious, or financial reasons for seeking an annulment, but the legal criteria are strict and specific.

Grounds for Annulment in NY

The legal procedure to obtain an annulment in NY involves filing a petition in the state's Supreme Court. Documentation and proper evidence for the claimed grounds are necessities. A court appearance is also required, where all the facets of the annulment are reviewed.

To have your marriage considered null and void in New York, you need to prove grounds that are statutorily recognized, such as:

  • Fraud or Misrepresentation: Annulment may be granted if your spouse lied or misled you about an essential aspect, such as the desire to have children, or was dishonest about financial matters.
  • Duress or Force: Marriages entered under force or coercion are invalid and can be annulled in NY.
  • Bigamy: If your spouse was already legally married to someone else when they married you, you can seek an annulment.
  • Incest: Marriage between close relatives is legally invalid in New York, and such marriages can be annulled.
  • Underage Marriage: If one spouse was under the legal age of consent, which is 18 in NY, and married without parental consent, annulment is possible.
  • Mental Incapacity: If a spouse is unable to comprehend the nature and consequences of marriage due to mental incapacity, this is a valid ground for annulment.
  • Physical Incapacity: A marriage may be annulled if, at the time of marriage, one spouse is physically incapable of consummating the relationship, and this incapacity appears to be incurable.

Understanding the Feasibility of Annulment vs Divorce

For many, understanding that annulment is a relatively rare legal remedy is crucial—especially since it often conjures misconceptions of a 'simpler' process than divorce. In reality, the complexities and specific conditional requirements of annulment often make divorce not only a more straightforward legal process but also the only legally viable option for those wanting to end their marriage.

It is also worth noting that the divorce process allows for the equitable division of marital assets, the determination of alimony, and the establishment of child custody and support, which can provide a clear and structured financial future for both parties involved.

Legal Representation Is Strongly Recommended

Because annulment law is quite complex, seeking competent legal representation is vital if you think you have grounds for one. The annulment attorneys at Arnel Law Firm are here to help, from helping you determine if you are eligible for an annulment under NY law to guiding you through whichever legal process you choose. We understand the intricacies of annulment cases and offer compassionate and skilled representation.

You don't have to go through this alone—contact us online to schedule a consultation and explore your options.