Getting an annulment is similar to getting a divorce in North Carolina, but there are some significant differences. You will have to file a lawsuit in court and convince the judge that you qualify for an annulment. Depending on the facts of your situation, it can be much more challenging to get a judge to grant an annulment than a divorce, but it is possible if you can prove one of the grounds.
You do not have to try to seek an annulment by yourself. A North Carolina family law attorney can help you with your annulment case and explain the legal process of getting a marriage annulled in North Carolina.
What Is an Annulment?
In an annulment case, you ask the judge to declare that the marriage never existed. The judge can only grant an annulment in North Carolina if you prove at least one of the required grounds for annulment. Many people mistakenly think that you can get an annulment if your marriage was brief, but that is not the law in our state. For example, if you got married on a weekend trip to Las Vegas and you realize the next week that you made a mistake, you will have to file for a divorce, not an annulment.
With a divorce, you ask the judge to terminate the marriage. With an annulment, you ask the judge to order that the marriage never existed because the relationship violated the law or there were other legal grounds.
Grounds for Annulment in North Carolina
Some grounds for annulment involve a void marriage, and other grounds involve a voidable marriage. A void marriage is invalid. A voidable marriage can get invalidated at the option of the innocent party.
Here are several of the grounds for annulment in North Carolina:
- Bigamy. If either you or your spouse had a legal spouse who was still alive at the time that you and your current “spouse” got married, the second marriage is bigamous. A bigamous marriage is void because it cannot be legal. The second marriage never existed, so you do not have to get an annulment, but it could save you a multitude of legal and financial headaches to clear up your status by getting an official annulment.
The following grounds for annulment are situations in which the marriages are voidable, as opposed to void:
- Incest. A marriage between a parent and child or between siblings is voidable. Also, a marriage between double first cousins is voidable. An example of double first cousins is when brothers marry siblings and both couples have children from the marriage. Those children are double first cousins.
- Lack of Consent. If you got married because someone threatened, forced, or tricked you, you might qualify for an annulment. Your request for an annulment is more likely to succeed if you file the case right away.
- Impotence. Being unable to consummate the marriage can be grounds for an annulment, but you must have medical evidence of the condition. Also, the other spouse must have been unaware of the diagnosis before the marriage.
There are several other situations that might make you eligible for an annulment. These are tricky cases, so you will want to work with a North Carolina family law attorney on your annulment case. Get in touch with our office today for help with your case, we gladly offer a free consultation.