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.
A religious annulment is a different process and won’t be recognized by the state.
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.
The person who files for an annulment still may be entitled to spousal and child support.
Step 6 Gather proof Gather as much proof of the marriage-contract defect as possible. It helps if you have evidence and witnesses.
Did You Know:
In the 1530s, King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church and formed the Church of England, partly because the Pope wouldn’t grant him an annulment.