Can you obtain an annulment if you have been married less than a year?

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Can you obtain an annulment if you have been married less than a year?

I got married 7/08 and I am ready for a divorce or annulment due to the fact that my husband has strong issues with his family and ex wife that he refuses to resolve. It constantly puts a strain on our marriage. We have one child together, but I’m ready to move on. The only debt we have together is a house/vehicle. Can I get an annulment or do I have to file for divorce?

Asked on May 18, 2009 under Family Law, Maryland

Answers:

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

In Maryland there are two types of annulment. In the first type the marriage is declared void ab initio, or from its inception, as though it had never existed. You do not legally have to go to court to have the marriage declared void ab initio, although it's a good idea to do so. In the case of an annulment, a marriage must be "totally void" in order for it to be considered annulled.

There are two characteristics of a "totally void" marriage:

  • the marriage posses some defect rendering it susceptible to collateral attack (some evidence that shows the marriage never happened or should have never happened) even after the death of one or both spouses; and
  • no direct step or proceeding to annul is necessary (although the latter may be desirable).

The second type of annulment is called voidable. A voidable marriage can only be annulled by going to court and having it declared void. . Annulment is available in Maryland, and in some cases it can be obtained under the name of a divorce. Along with obtaining an annulment for bigamy and for lack of consensual age, a marriage may be declared void if the parties did not really intend to marry or if they are incapacitated, as in insanity, intoxication, fraud, and duress. Although annulments may be granted, the preference of the court is not to annul, but for the parties to divorce. Also, any marriage that is expressly prohibited by statute is void by annulment.

As to your specific case I do not know if you will qualify for an annulment but you should contact a local matrimonial lawyer who will be able to better understand your situation and decide how to best proceed


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