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Annulment

Annulment proceedings differ from divorce proceedings. An annulment declares that the marriage never existed whilst with a divorce, the existence of the marriage prior to the divorce is recognized. Hence, after an annulment, an individual’s status will revert to being “single” whilst after a divorce, the status will be that of a “divorcee”.
Either a husband or wife may file a writ of nullity commencing annulment proceedings to seek a dissolution of his or her marriage. To annul a marriage, one needs to show that either the marriage is void or voidable.
A void marriage is one that is considered non-existent from the start i.e., as if no marriage took place between the couple. A voidable marriage is one that is valid until it is declared annulled by the courts.

Void Marriage

For a void marriage, you will usually need to show that the legal requirements for a valid marriage were not met. For instance, one party was under the minimum age or the marriage was within prohibited degrees or it was a marriage of convenience or there was a prior subsisting marriage or there was an improper solemnisation of marriage. Seeking an annulment on the basis that a marriage is void is rare. The more common route invoked by couples would be to claim that the marriage is voidable.

Voidable Marriage

To successfully claim that a marriage is voidable, one of the following grounds must be proved: -
  • that the marriage has not been consummated owing to the incapacity of either party to consummate it;
  • that the marriage has not been consummated owing to the wilful refusal of the defendant to consummate it;
  • that either party to the marriage did not validly consent to it, whether in consequence of duress, mistake, mental disorder or otherwise;
  • that at the time of the marriage either party, though capable of giving a valid consent, was suffering (whether continuously or intermittently) from mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2008 of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage;
  • that at the time of the marriage the defendant was suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form;
  • that at the time of the marriage the defendant was pregnant by some person other than the plaintiff.
However, the court will not grant a judgment of nullity on the ground that a marriage is voidable if the defendant satisfies the court that the plaintiff, with knowledge that it was open to him/her to have the marriage avoided, so conducted himself/herself in relation to the defendant as to lead the defendant reasonably to believe that he/she would not seek to do so; and would be unjust to the defendant to grant the judgment.
In respect of (c), (d), (e) or (f) above, the Court will not grant a judgment of nullity unless it is satisfied that proceedings were instituted within 3 years from the date of the marriage.
And in respect of (e) or (f) above, the court will not grant a judgment of nullity unless it is satisfied that the plaintiff was, at the time of the marriage, ignorant of the facts alleged.
At Godwin Campos LLC, our specialist annulment lawyers are skilled in representing people wanting an annulment , and those who were served with an annulment. We will understand your circumstances in detail and advise you on the best possible legal route with your interests in mind.

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