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Are there time limits on getting your marriage annulled?

by Ben Letham
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In certain cases the basis for annulment is that a marriage is illegal, and therefore there is generally no time limit for getting your marriage annulled. You have to think of an annulled marriage as one that has never taken place, as the annulment itself voids the marriage contract in the eyes of the law.

In some cases a marriage will not have taken place legally. If you got married whilst already married to another person, your marriage is void. Anyone who is under the age of 16 is not allowed to get married under current legislation and therefore their marriage would be void too. If you married a close blood relative such as your sister or brother, the law does not recognise your marriage as it is fundamentally illegal. In these cases, a time limit does not apply as the marriage is essentially void.

Time limits can become a contentious issue in other circumstances where you might seek to end a marriage with an annulment. For example, if you married under duress, it may be sometime before you are able to contact the authorities about your situation. A marriage is only valid if both parties entered into it out of their own free will. The help of a family law solicitor would be advisable, as you would need to prove that you did not enter the marriage under your own free will; this would become increasingly difficult to prove the longer the marriage has gone on.

Other grounds for annulment include if your marriage has not been consummated. The court may view this as grounds for an annulment, but if significant time has passed, it may be unlikely that the court would grant an annulment.

Another ground for annulment is if your partner didn't tell you they had a sexually transmitted disease at the time you married them. A family lawyer or annulment solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether or not you have grounds for annulment.

Any delay in filing a Nullity Petition at court can become an issue. A family lawyer or annulment solicitor can offer you advice on whether any particular time limits apply to your circumstances, and if any delay on your part has damaged your chances of being granted an annulment. It is important to contact an expert family law solicitor or annulment solicitor as soon as you become aware that you want to annul your marriage.

Ben Letham works for Contact Law, the UK's foremost legal brokerage company - finding the right family law solicitors or annulment solicitors for your needs.

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