How to Get an Annulment

Getting an annulment means having your marriage legally declared retroactively invalid – meaning you were never married to begin with. Here's how to erase that chapter from your life.

You will need

  • Grounds for annulment
  • An attorney
  • Proof of those grounds

Step 1 Check your state law For a civil annulment, research your state’s family law by visiting your state’s web site or calling a municipal or county court office. Rules vary across the country.

Step 2 Have acceptable grounds Prove that there was a defect in the marriage contract: if one party was already married, concealing something, under the influence of drugs at the time of the ceremony, underage or not mentally competent, these are all grounds for annulment.

Step 3 Check the time limit Make sure you are within the time limit allowed to file for an annulment – usually two years or less. These periods vary depending on the type of annulment being requested and the state in which the petition is filed.

Step 4 Prepare to file Make an appointment with a family law attorney and, if necessary, hire them to help you navigate the process.

Step 5 Have the wronged party file Have the wronged party file. The person responsible for the deception generally is not allowed to request the annulment.

Step 6 Gather proof Gather as much proof of the marriage-contract defect as possible. It helps if you have evidence and witnesses.