An annulment presents a unique manner to terminate a marriage. This should not be confused with divorce. Annulments, as opposed to divorces, legally void the wedding in such a way that the law and the State of Virginia views it as non-existent – as if the marriage was never substantial enough to credit legal recognition in the first place.
The Commonwealth of Virginia legally permits annulments. However, certain conditions must be met for a case to be considered in a court of law. These can range from defects in the marriage officiation process to any fraudulent activity involved in attaining marital status.
Annulment and its Effects
An annulment by definition means that the marriage between you and your former spouse never really happened, in the strictest legal sense. Unlike many other states, Virginian judiciary officers and judges cannot order alimony or any sort of division in property following an annulment. This is also a key variant that differentiates an annulment from a divorce in Virginia.
The judicial officer or committee can, however, decide upon matters of custody of children, visitation rights, and child support. It is important to note that children of annulled marriages are considered illegitimate in the eyes of the law. This means that the child can inherit from either parent and carry economic rights over both their parents.
What are the Grounds for Annulment?
For a marriage to be terminated by annulment, the Commonwealth of Virginia requires legal grounds and justifications. Some examples of tenable grounds to initiate annulment include:
Incest – wherein if you and your partner are blood relatives, your marriage is automatically considered null and void and can be presented for termination.
Impotence – If either of the two partners isn’t capable of procreating or actively taking part in sexual relations, your marriage is liable to be viewed as invalid. In any event, the Commonwealth of Virginia, along with all other states in the US respect consent and choice relating to this matter.
Fraud – If the consent towards the wedding, on the part of you or your partner, is based upon deceptions or lies propagated by the other party (around a critical condition such as employment or medical conditions), a court can annul your marriage if requested. This, however, requires the fraud to be sufficiently severe and the proof that the union would not have occurred without deception or malice on the part of one of the partners in a marital relationship.
Bigamy – As polygamy is legally discouraged in the USA, if you or your partner were, at any point in your current marriage, wedded to another person; your marriage is lawfully invalid and is liable to be annulled.
Minors/Underage Marriages – If either of the partners in marriage had not achieved their legal age of consent to a wedding, the marriage could be considered unlawful. This, however, does have a few exemptions.
Prostitution – If either of the companions did not reveal that they were actively involved in prostitution or if they were sentenced criminals before marriage, the relationship is liable to be invalidated and annulled.
Sham Marriages – If either partner just got married because of aims contrary to common motivations behind marriage. A typical case of this is weddings done to obtain benefits such as citizenship rights to a specific country.
Children With Other(s): A marriage can be annulled if your significant other had been pregnant with another’s infant at the time of marriage, or if your partner has a child with another woman inside of ten months of marriage.