NULLITY OF MARRIAGE

There are two ways to have a marriage declared annulled.  Another common term used to describe this process is "annulment".

The Family Code allows for the marriage to be annulled if the marriage was void when it occurred. For example, if the marriage was incestuous or bigamous, then the marriage was void when it occurred. The court will automatically grant the annulment upon proof that the marriage was incestuous or bigamous.

The law also allows for the nullity to be entered where the marriage is voidable for the following reasons:

Fraud is the most common basis for a party to request an annulment of the marriage. Case law supports the court granting a Nullity of Marriage where the fraud goes to the essence of the marriage. Some examples are where a person lied about wanting children and then refused to have children; where one party did not enter into the marriage with an intent to have sexual relations (party was gay); one party promised to raise the children of the marriage in a particular religion and then refused to do so.

Fraud usually cannot be used to support a court granting a nullity just because the person who marries has hidden something from the new spouse which does not go to the essence of the marriage. A bad credit rating, extraordinary debt or excessive drinking have not been approved by the court as a basis for granting a nullity.

To obtain a Nullity of Marriage, the person seeking the nullity has to personally appear in court and testify about the basis for the request.