An annulment will end a marriage by showing that it never existed in law. It is not the same as getting a divorce, and whether or not you can apply for an annulment instead of divorce will depend entirely on your individual situation.
When to apply?
You can apply for annulment straight after getting married, as there is no requirement to wait for at least one year as you would if you wished to petition for divorce. You will need to show that your marriage is ‘void’ meaning that it was never legal in the first place; or ‘voidable’ meaning that it is defective and can be brought to an end as if it never existed.
Examples of ‘void’ marriages may include:
- A marriage between two close relatives
- A marriage involving a child under the age of 16
- A marriage in which one or both parties was already legally married or in a civil partnership
Examples of ‘voidable’ marriages may include
- A marriage that was never consummated following the wedding
- A marriage to which one partner did not consent
- A marriage in which the wife was already pregnant by another man at the time of the wedding
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