What is annulment?
A marriage is declared to be annulled where the law does not recognise it as a valid marriage.
This is different to religious procedures for annulment. You should make any inquiry about church granted annulments through your church.
A marriage is not valid at law where:
- either person was married at the time of the marriage (bigamy)
- the relationship between the people prohibits marriage (eg brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild, including half relations but not step relations)
- either person is not of marriageable age (ie 18 years of age unless you have a court order)
- the ceremony was not valid (eg unqualified celebrant or incorrect paperwork)
- either person did not give their real consent eg:
- they were not mentally capable of giving consent
- they were mistaken eg as to the identity of the other party or the nature of the ceremony
- there was duress or fraud, such as misrepresenting who you are or using threats or force to get consent.
How do I apply?
You must make an application to the family court which shows grounds as to why the marriage is not valid. If approved the court will issue a decree of nullity.
How much does it cost?
You have to pay a court filing fee. You can apply to the Family Court for reduction of the fee. You should discuss other legal costs with a solicitor.
An application for a decree of nullity can be complicated and expensive and you should get legal advice before applying to court for an annulment.