Are you thinking about ending your marriage because of fraud or mental illness on the part of your spouse? Your case may qualify for an annulment.
You may have heard of the term annulment in connection with various celebrities over the years or in connection with the issue of divorce and remarriage within the Roman Catholic Church.
While annulment is similar to divorce in that it is one way to dissolve a marriage legally, it is different in some crucial ways. In addition, a legal annulment is different from an annulment granted by a religious institution.
Definition of Annulment
While divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage, an annulment makes it as though the marriage never happened, legally speaking.
Because of famous annulments like the one between singer Britney Spears and her high school sweetheart after a 55-hour marriage, there is a misconception that annulments can be granted to couples who have buyer’s remorse or who haven’t lived together yet.
That isn’t true. Annulments aren’t awarded based on the length of time you have been married. There must be a legal reason one spouse was unable to marry at the time of the marriage.
Grounds for Annulment in Michigan
There are few legal reasons for declaring a marriage void in Michigan. However, if you can prove one of these exist, you may be granted an annulment by a court. It will be as if no marriage had ever existed even if you have children.
The following are the grounds for annulment in Michigan:
In Michigan, it’s illegal to marry under the age of 18 without parental consent, and it’s illegal to marry at all under the age of 16.
Michigan law prohibits marriage between people who are too closely related. MCL 551.3
If one party meets the legal definition of being incapable of entering into a contract at the time of the marriage due to mental condition or capacity, the marriage may be annulled. MCL 552.1 & MCL 552.36
If one party is unable to consummate the marriage or to have children, and it is discovered after the wedding, the union may meet criteria for annulment.
However, this suit must be brought to court within two years of the marriage to be considered. MCL 552.39
Forced Into Marriage
It’s hard to imagine this happening today, but if one person’s consent was forced, the marriage could be declared illegal.
The person performing the marriage lacked the legal authority to do so.
Fraud & Concealed Intent
This definition covers everything else that may prove your marriage is null and void. For example:
- One person keeping their inability to have children a secret.
- Keeping their criminal record a secret.
- Intending to commit immigration fraud.
- Concealing an intent never to have sexual intercourse.
- Refusal to consummate.
- Entering the marriage as a joke.
- Not knowing they were entering marriage at the time of the marriage.
Foreign law violations and other problems that deal with the validity of the marriage or the ability of one party to freely consent could also make the marriage void.
Grounds for annulment must be proved legally. It’s often more expensive and difficult to prove these grounds.
For that reason, and because Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, obtaining a divorce is much easier. Few annulments are granted in the state of Michigan for these reasons.
Keep in mind that a legal annulment has little to do with an annulment from your religious institution other than that it declares the marriage void as though it never happened.
Annulments can be disputed just like divorce. If there are children between the people seeking an annulment, custody and property considerations are ruled by a judge just like in a divorce case.
Annulment Lawyer in Michigan
The breaking up of a marriage is often traumatic, no matter how it’s done.
If you think you have grounds for an annulment in Michigan, call my office to discuss in a free initial consultation.