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What are grounds for annulment?

The grounds for annulment in New Jersey are much different than grounds for divorce. Because annulment essentially makes the marriage invalid, a spouse wishing to have their marriage annulled must show that the marriage was either prohibited by law or entered into unlawfully.

Some prohibited marriages that could be eligible for annulment include a polygamous marriage, a marriage between close relatives or a marriage involving someone who is underage. If a marriage is entered into under duress or based on one spouse's fraud, these marriages could also be annulled. A judge may also grant an annulment if one spouse concealed the fact that they were impotent until after the marriage ceremony. Some states even have provisions that permit an annulment if a marriage was entered into based on a joke or a dare.

Once a marriage is annulled, spouses will return to their pre-marriage status as if the annulled marriage never happened. In some cases, this could mean that alimony payments from a prior marriage are regained. Although annulments differ greatly from divorces, there might still be issues about property division that need to be addressed after an annulment.

An individual might have a case for annulment if they entered into a marriage while under the influence of alcohol. At other times, a person may want a marriage annulled because their spouse concealed the fact that they were still legally wed to another person. In all cases, a spouse who wants their marriage annulled may want to consult a family law attorney about the best way to proceed. Everyone's situation is different, and a person should not confuse the information in this blog with legal advice.

Source: Findlaw, "New Jersey Family Laws", November 18, 2014

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