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.