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Who qualifies for a marriage annulment in New York?

Most people have heard of getting a marriage annulled. However, you may be unclear how it differs from a divorce, and who qualifies for an annulment. Here is what you need to know about getting a marriage annulled in New York.

An annulment is like your marriage never occurred

Both a legal annulment and a divorce end a marriage. However, an annulment declares your marriage void or invalid through a court proceeding. That makes it like you were never married. This is not to be confused with a religious annulment, which has no legal effect on your marriage.

However, an annulment is not an option for anyone. It is available only in extreme circumstances. In New York, there are five reasons you can be granted a marriage annulment. These include:

  • One or both partners were younger than 18 when the marriage occurred.
  • One of both spouses did not have the mental ability to consent to marriage.
  • A partner cannot physically have sexual intercourse.
  • A spouse was mentally ill for at least five years of the marriage.
  • One party was coerced or under duress while consenting to marriage. Fraud can also invalidate consent to marriage.

With fraud, if one spouse discovers the fraud and does not immediately object to it, it may not be considered a valid reason for annulment. If a mentally ill spouse recovers and you continue to live together, the former mental illness may not be used to get an annulment. These distinctions can be a little confusing.

An annulment requires a trial

Unlike a divorce, an annulment requires a trial before a judge. You will have to file paperwork, and bring forth evidence and witnesses that support your case for an annulment. You will likely want to consult with a family law attorney to determine if you have a valid case for annulment and to have him or her represent your interests before a judge.

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