Annulment Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Annulment, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Annulment?

A legal decree that states that a marriage was never valid.

History and Meaning of Annulment

Annulment is a legal term that refers to the legal procedure in which a marriage is declared null and void. An annulment is a legal decree that states that the marriage was never valid from the very beginning. It is different from a divorce, which dissolves a valid marriage.

Annulments can be granted for various reasons, including:

  • Lack of consent from one of the parties
  • One or both of the parties were not capable of consenting to the marriage
  • Fraud, where one of the parties enters the marriage with a hidden agenda or deception
  • Misrepresentation, where one of the parties misrepresents certain facts
  • Impotence, where one of the parties is incapable of consummating the marriage

Generally, an annulment results in the parties being treated as if they were never married. However, there can be legal consequences to an annulment. For example, the court may still need to divide property and debt, establish custody or visitation arrangements, and determine support obligations.

Examples of Annulment

  1. Jane discovers that John is already married and did not disclose this fact before they got married. Jane can seek an annulment of their marriage.
  2. Bob is unable to consummate the marriage due to a health issue. His wife, Alice, can seek an annulment of their marriage.
  3. Susan was coerced into marrying Jack, and did not really agree to the marriage of her own free will. Susan can seek an annulment of their marriage.

Legal Terms Similar to Annulment

  1. Divorce: Dissolving a valid marriage.
  2. Separation: A legal arrangement in which a married couple lives apart.
  3. Nullity: The absence of legal validity.
  4. Void: Without legal force or effect.