After an annulment, a person is legally single and free to marry again. It is different from a divorce because a divorce dissolves a legal marriage; an annulment states that there never was a legal marriage to begin with.

There is a difference between a legal annulment and a religious one. Even if a church has annulled your marriage, you still must go through the legal annulment process before you are free to marry someone else. Consult an Upper Marlboro annulment lawyer at Carmiece Graves Law to see whether this legal process is possible for you.

Grounds for an Annulment

As stated earlier, a divorce ends a legal marriage, but an annulment claims that a legal marriage never existed. Although there are religious and emotional reasons why someone might seek an annulment, a divorce is often easier to obtain.

Either a spouse or a third party could seek to annul a marriage. The party seeking an annulment must state a provable ground explaining why the union was never valid. When one of the spouses was legally married to another person who was alive at the time of the subsequent marriage then the subsequent marriage is void. Another ground that renders a marriage void, according to Maryland Family Law Code § 2-202, is if the spouses are close relatives, such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, stepparent, or stepchild.

Other Possibilities for a Voidable Marriage

If the above two options do not apply to a particular circumstance, there are also other grounds for an annulment that render a marriage voidable, including:

  • Age: One or both parties were under 18 when the marriage occurred and did not have parental permission to marry.
  • Fraud: One party fundamentally misrepresented themselves to induce the other party to marry.
  • Duress: Someone used force or a threat of force to induce a party to marry.
  • Intoxication: One or both parties were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the marriage took place.
  • Incapacity: One spouse did not understand the rights and obligations of marriage at the time of the wedding.

Many of these grounds could be challenging to prove. Depending on the grounds that a person cites, continuing to live with their spouse after learning that they might not have a legal marriage could interfere with their ability to annul the marriage. Anyone wishing to annul their marriage on voidable grounds should discuss their situation with an Upper Marlboro attorney.

Requirements for an Annulment

There are a few crucial requirements that must be fulfilled to receive an annulment. Anyone seeking one must have lived in Maryland for at least six months, or their spouse must be a resident of the state. An Upper Marlboro attorney could file for an annulment in the county where the spouse seeking the annulment lives or the county where the marriage took place.

The person seeking an annulment must also file a complaint with the court stating the legal grounds for annulling the marriage and must be able to prove that the union is and always was invalid. Even when the other spouse consents to the annulment, a court will not grant it unless the spouse seeking it proves their grounds.

Settling Relevant Issues

When a court grants an annulment, it must also disentangle the couple’s life together. If they were together long enough to have children or accumulate property, the couple or the court must resolve custody and financial issues before granting an annulment.

The law concerning co-parenting children is the same whether a couple receives a divorce or annulment. Both parents have equal rights to custody of the children, and a court will make custody and visitation decisions based on the best interest of the children.

Courts in this state divide marital property equitably between the parties, reflecting each spouse’s contributions to the union. Consult an attorney at our Upper Marlboro firm to review how equitable distribution might look in a specific case for an annulment.

Talk to an Upper Marlboro Attorney if You Are Considering an Annulment

Getting a divorce is typically easier than getting an annulment. However, some people have specific reasons for preferring an annulment to a divorce. Our practiced legal professionals could walk you through your options and help you decide what works best for your circumstances.

A diligent Upper Marlboro annulment lawyer helps people who want to annul their marriages compile and present the proof they need to show their marriage was never valid. Call our firm today to discuss your situation with our team.