First of all, what’s the difference between an annulment and a divorce? A divorce is the termination of a valid marriage whereas an annulment is the termination of an invalid marriage. What makes a marriage invalid? A court sees a marriage as invalid when there is a legal reason that this marriage never should have happened. If there is a specific reason that your marriage was invalid from the very beginning, you might be eligible for an annulment in Virginia.
There are several reasons that Virginia sees a marriage as invalid:
- Bigamy: One spouse is already married at the time of the marriage
- Incest: The spouses are related (closer than first cousins)
- Incompetent: One spouse is not mentally able to understand the marriage
- Fraud: A spouse agreed to get married based on the other spouse’s deception
- Impotence: One spouse is unable to engage in sexual relations
- Underage: One spouse is under the legal age to be married
- Prostitute or Felon: One spouse didn’t disclose to the other that they were a prostitute or convicted felon.
- Child by Another Person: A wife is pregnant by another man at the time of the marriage or a husband has a child by another woman within 10 months of the marriage.
- Duress: One spouse only agreed to marry because of force or threat of serious harm
- Sham: The spouses got married for other reasons that the normal purposes of a marriage
The Fine Print
However, no annulment for a marriage alleged to be void or voidable would be allowed if it appears that the party applying for an annulment has cohabited with the partner after knowledge of the facts listed above. Basically, this means that if you found out about any of the above situations, and continued to remain married after this knowledge, you do not qualify for an annulment in Virginia. In addition, Virginia will not allow an annulment in the event that the parties have been married for two years prior to the institution of the annulment suit.
If you are considering an annulment and want to know if you qualify, feel free to give us a call at 757-656-1000 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to answer your questions!