What Is An Annulment?

Sometimes marriages simply do not work out. While some couples seek to separate for a time, hoping to one day resolve their issues and get back together, there are other instances where one or both spouses seek to officially end the marriage for the benefit of everyone involved.

In the state of Ohio, an annulment refers to an official termination of a union in which the court mandates that the marriage never took place. Unlike a divorce, the annulment cannot be granted unless the reason falls under one of the qualifying grounds for nullification.

Grounds for annulment in Ohio may include:

  • One person was under the age to legally consent to marriage (females must be 16 while males must be 18)
  • Someone committed fraud to get the other person to marry them, such as giving a false identity or claiming a pregnancy
  • Someone was not competent enough to agree to the marriage
  • The other spouse was already legally married to another person who is still alive
  • The marriage was forced under duress
  • The marriage was never consummated by the spouses

Differences Between An Annulment And A Divorce

In a divorce, one or both spouses may seek to end the marriage at any point in their lives. This circumstance differs from an annulment as most grounds for the termination must be done within two years after the date of the marriage. In the case where one of the spouses was underage at the time, the marriage can be terminated within two years after the person reaches the legal age of getting married. If there was fraud committed to get one person to marry another, then the annulment must be requested two years after finding out the facts about the fraud.

Yet the annulment will not be granted in most cases if both spouses lived together as husband and wife. So, if you find out that your spouse committed fraud to marry you but you continued to live with them after this discovery, a court of law will not grant you an annulment. Additional circumstances where you won't be given an annulment include if a person regained competency and both spouses continued to live together for a time, if you lived with the spouse after being forced to give your consent for the marriage or you lived with your spouse even though you were underage at the time of marriage.

Seeking out compensation during an annulment is another difference from a divorce. During a divorce, a person can seek out spousal support as well as attorney fees from the other party. Unfortunately, in the state of Ohio, a person cannot get spousal support if they seek an annulment. They normally will not recoup attorney's fees either unless the case is taken to civil court and the grounds for annulment was because the other person committed fraud. In these special cases, the court may award you a certain fee that can be placed toward attorney fees.

Seeking Representation From A Skilled Lawyer

Annulments typically do not cost more than divorces, yet they can last a year or two if both parties fail to come up with any amicable agreements for the termination of the marriage. Also, annulments can become very complicated.

When you are unsure whether you should seek an annulment or a divorce, having an attorney can allow you to decide the best course of action based on your particular circumstances. Contact Laubacher & Co. by emailing us or calling 440-462-1882. We offer free consultations. We work with clients in Rocky River and the entire Cleveland area.