Seeking an Annulment?
Michigan, like many other states, has a legal process to end a marriage through annulment. An annulment not only nullifies a Michigan marriage, it makes a legal declaration that the marriage never existed.
While such a declaration is very appealing to many people, it is a legal process that is not easily achieved.
Just because one or both parties to a marriage desire an annulment does not mean that a Michigan court will grant one. Many people incorrectly think that they have good grounds for an annulment because “we made a huge mistake getting married,” or because “we were very young at the time of marriage,” or because a marriage was very short in duration. However, that is not the basis under which a Michigan court is authorized to grant an annulment.
Specific Reasons a Michigan Court Can Grant an Annulment
- Proof that one of the parties was not legally old enough to get married at the time of the marriage. (Michigan marriage age is 16 and older with parental consent)
- Proof that one of the parties acted in a polygamous way; that they were still married to someone else at the time of the marriage
- Proof that one of the parties was addicted to drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage
- Proof that a party to the marriage was not able to consummate the marriage (inability to engage in sexual intercourse)
- Proof that a woman was pregnant with another man’s child at the time of the marriage
- Proof that one of the parties was mentally incapacitated or incompetent at the time of the marriage
- Proof that the parties to the marriage were blood related to each other, such as first cousins or siblings
An experienced and well-qualified Michigan family law attorney, after thoroughly interviewing you, should be able to tell you whether you meet Michigan’s legal annulment requirements. If you do qualify for an annulment, you and your attorney may choose to file a Complaint for Annulment rather than a Complaint for Divorce. In any event, both divorce proceedings and an annulment proceedings take time to work their way through the court system. Also, even if a party is seeking an annulment, the issues of division of assets, child custody and child support, etc. will still need to be addressed. Some parties mistakenly believe that if they are granted an annulment, they won’t have to pay child support or divide assets.
The Difference Between a Michigan Legal Annulment and a Religious Annulment
Many people confuse a religious annulment with a Michigan legal annulment. While the principle is the same, a declaration that a marriage was a nullity or “never existed,” the requirements may vary between a Michigan court and a particular religion. Also, it is possible in some instances to be granted a Michigan divorce, yet still qualify for an annulment through your particular religion. And still there are other instances where a Michigan court has granted a legal annulment that is not recognized by a particular religion. Each party should consult closely with the clergy of their particular religion when considering a religious annulment.
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