If you are unhappy with your marriage, you can obtain a divorce in Massachusetts for just about any reason. Regardless, there are those times when a marriage should not even be legally recognized. A divorce will end a marriage, but an annulment determines there never was a legal marriage from the start. Moreover, an annulment may have significance for religious or social purposes. If the marriage was not valid from the beginning, it is possible to receive an annulment.
Do you qualify for an annulment?
In Massachusetts, the marriage needs to be void or voidable. There is a popular belief that you can receive an annulment if the marriage was short. Unfortunately, this is not true. There are specific guidelines for granting an annulment, and the duration of the union is not a factor in Massachusetts. In fact, the requirements are so strict that many eventually choose a no-fault divorce, because it is just easier.
The Massachusetts Court System identifies the requirements in both categories.
- When one person is already married, or
- One has married a close relative.
- One spouse does not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage,
- One spouse is not physically able to have sexual intercourse,
- One spouse is not a legal age for marriage, or
- Fraud was used as the basis of the marriage.
If you believe that you fit under any of these qualifiers, you can apply for an annulment in Massachusetts using the “Complaint of Annulment” form. Either spouse (and in some cases the guardian of a spouse) can file. There will be a court date, and the petitioner must provide proof to the court. A judge will them make the final decision.
If you would like to speak with an attorney about annulment in Massachusetts, or need more information, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.