Annulment

Divorce is not always the right route to bring your marriage to an end. Unlike divorce, an annulment declares the marriage null and void, as if it never existed.

Is annulment an option for my marriage?

The result of an annulment and a divorce is the same. You are no longer married and each of you is free to marry again. However, the circumstances in which you can get an annulment differ to those in which you can get a divorce. Our family lawyers can provide expert legal advice on annulment and whether this is the right route for you.

Our lawyers

We understand that separation of any kind can be difficult but, regardless of your reasons for annulment, our lawyers will help to make the process as easy as possible.

Our family lawyers have extensive experience advising on alternatives to divorce, including situations involving the possible annulment of a marriage. Some recent examples we have helped clients with include:

  • A husband whose marriage was void because his ex was already married to someone else
  • A wife who had married the same person twice and wasn’t sure which of their marriages was valid
  • A husband whose wife had refused to consummate their marriage 
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What you need to know

Unlike divorce, where you cannot start proceedings until you have been married for at least a year, annulment is a way to end a marriage within its first year. However, the grounds for getting an annulment are not always straightforward and are quite different from getting a divorce.

Annulment could be appropriate for you if you don’t think your marriage or civil partnership is legal. A judge will investigate your situation and decide if your marriage is either:

  • Void – your marriage or civil partnership never legally existed in the first place
  • Voidable – your marriage or civil partnership was legal at the beginning, but it isn’t legal anymore

Some of the reasons why your marriage or civil partnership might be considered void are:

  • You and your ex are closely related
  • One or both of you were underage when you married
  • One of you is already married or in a civil partnership with someone else

Some of the reasons why your marriage might be considered voidable are:

  • Your marriage was never consummated (this only applies to opposite sex couples)
  • You did not consent to the marriage
  • Your ex had a sexually transmitted disease when you got married
  • Your ex was pregnant by someone else when you got married
  • One of you is in the process of transitioning to a different gender

Annulment is a complex area of law and it is important to take advice from lawyers who can help you to properly understand how this applies to your circumstances.

You can apply to the court to have your marriage annulled immediately after your wedding. Most annulments take place in the first three years of marriage.

Importantly, if you can annul your marriage, the court will have the power to make financial orders between you and your ex, or approve a financial agreement you have negotiated.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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