Annulment, a retroactive process which, when concluded, declares that a legitimate marriage never existed, is a legal process for declaring a marriage null and void. This differs from divorce which terminates a valid marriage, and is much less common today.
There is a time limit within which the annulment process must be started, and legal grounds for the annulment need to be established. Legal grounds for annulment are conditions, usually unknown to one spouse at the time of marriage, which render it void, that is, if fraud has been perpetrated. Examples of this include:
- Failure to disclose a criminal record
- Failure to disclose a previous marriage
- Failure to disclose an infectious disease
- Failure to disclose an inability to have children or the desire not to have children
- If one party is already married
- If the parties are too closely related
- If one party is underage
- If one party has not received the necessary parental consent.
- Mental illness, insanity, or mental retardation
- Temporary insanity
- Intoxication or failure to provide consent at the time or marriage