An annulment (or “nullity of marriage” or “nullity of domestic partnership”) is when a court says your marriage or domestic partnership is NOT legally valid. After an annulment, it is like your marriage or domestic partnership never happened because it was never legal.
A marriage is NEVER legally valid when it is:
Incestuous (between close blood relatives), or
Bigamous (where a spouse is already married to, or in a domestic partnership with, someone else).
Other marriages and partnerships can be declared “void” (invalid) because:
One of the people was under 18 years old at the time of the marriage or domestic partnership.
One of the people got married or registered a domestic partnership as a result of force or fraud or while physically or mentally incapacitated.
Either side was already legally married or in a registered domestic partnership. This is different from bigamy (which is automatically illegal) because in this case, the marriage or domestic partnership took place after the former spouse or domestic partner was absent for 5 years and not known to be living or generally thought to be dead.
To get an annulment, you must be able to prove to the judge that one of these reasons is true in your case. This makes an annulment case very different from a divorce or a legal separation. “Irreconcilable differences” are not a reason for getting an annulment.
Keep in mind that getting an annulment does not depend on how long you have been married. Even if you have been married only a very short time, you may not be able to prove to the judge that your case has 1 of the legal reasons that makes your marriage invalid.
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