When a marriage can be annulled
Annulment (sometimes known as ‘nullity’) is a method of dissolving a marriage.
Either you or your partner must possess:
- spent at least one year in England or Wales
- spent at least six months in England or Wales as a permanent resident
Unlike divorce, you can petition for annulment during or after the first year of your marriage. If you apply years after your wedding, you may be asked to explain why you took so long.
You’ll have to demonstrate that the union:
- was never considered legal (‘void’)
- It was legally valid, but one of the criteria that makes it voidable was met.
‘Void’ marriages are marriages that are not legally valid.
A marriage can be annulled if it was never legally valid in the first place, such as:
1. You have a close relationship with the person you married.
2. One or both of you were under the age of sixteen.
3. One of you was married or in a civil partnership before you met.
The law declares that a marriage that was never legally valid never existed.
You may, however, need legal documentation (a ‘decree of nullity) to show this, such as if you want to remarry.
Your relationship is voidable.
A marriage can be annulled for plenty of reasons, including:
1. It was not consummated – since the wedding, you have not had sexual relations with the person you married (does not apply for same-sex couples)
2. You did not provide your consent to the marriage in the proper manner – for example, They have coerced you into it.
3. When you married, the other person had a sexually transmitted illness (STD).
4. When you married, your partner was pregnant by someone else.
5. One of the spouses is transitioning from one gender to the other.
Until you use one of these reasons to annul your marriage, it is legally valid.
Although the rules for ending a civil partnership varied slightly, the court forms remain the same.
Make an annulment request.
Make an annulment application.
As soon as you are married, you can apply to have your marriage annulled. You don’t have to wait a year, unlike with divorce.
Fill out a ‘nullity petition‘ to end a marriage. Before you begin, read through the appendices.
Send at least two copies of the form to the divorce court in your area, and retain one for yourself. It costs £550 to file a nullity petition. If you’re under on benefits or have a low income, you may qualify for court cost assistance.
Request a nisi decree
Within eight days of receiving your nullity petition, the other party must respond, stating whether or not they agree that the marriage should be annulled.
You can get a ‘decree nisi’ if they agree. It proves that the court sees no reason why they should not cancel the marriage. Fill out the decree nisi or conditional order application to acquire a decree nisi.
In favour of the annulment, these made the following statement:
In addition, you must sign a statement stating that everything you claimed in your nullity petition is factual.
Depending on whether your marriage is void or voidable, you should fill out one of the following forms:
Learn the difference between ‘void’ and ‘voidable’ marriages and when you can annul your marriage.
You must still apply for a ‘decree absolute‘ to end the marriage.
Make an application for an absolute decree.
After receiving the decree nisi, you have six weeks to file for a decree absolute.
It’s also known as a ‘decree of nullity in these situations. It is the final legal document declaring the marriage null and void.
Fill out the notice of application for decree nisi to be made absolute to apply for a decree of nullity.
The total cost of the annulment includes the absolute decree fee.
When you submit your form
The court can decide whether they cancel the marriage or not for any reason. Most of the time, you won’t have to go to court for this.
If the court is satisfied, they will issue a nullity decree to you. It will be confirmed that you are no longer married if you do this.
The decree will certify that you were never lawfully married if your marriage was never legally valid (void).