Guide to Annulment of Marriage in Pennsylvania
While most marriages end with the death of one partner or a divorce, one other legal way exists for Pennsylvania residents to dissolve their marital relationship. annulment of marriage in PA is a way to end a marriage that differs from divorce in a few key ways. Rather than recognizing the end of a relationship, annulment of marriage in Pennsylvania voids the relationship retroactively, making it as if it had never existed. This guide will help you understand who is eligible for an annulment of marriage in PA.
Grounds for Annulment: Void Marriages
In some situations, a marriage can be said to be void from its beginning, and in these cases it is generally fairly easy to obtain an annulment of marriage in Pennsylvania. There are four basic ways a marriage can be considered void according to Pennsylvania law:
ñ One or both spouses is already married to another person at the time of the marriage. This is considered bigamy, even if the spouse was separated from their former spouse, and is grounds for an annulment of marriage in PA.
ñ An annulment of marriage in Pennsylvania can be granted to anyone who has found themselves to be married to a close relative, including first cousins.
ñ When either party is incapable of consenting to the marriage (for instance, due to mental incapacity or insanity), the marital contract is void and an annulment of marriage in PA may be granted.
ñ If either person in a common law marriage was under 18, which is not allowed according to Pennsylvania state law, an annulment may be granted.
Grounds for Annulment: Voidable Marriages
While the above reasons make a marriage void immediately and are quite easily granted once a court has seen evidence, some marriages are considered voidable. These marriages are valid until one party produces grounds for an annulment of marriage in Pennsylvania:
ñ If one person did not have court and parental consent to marry and was under 16 years of age at the time of the marriage.
ñ If one party or both was under 18 but at least 16, and did not receive parental or court consent, they may request an annulment of marriage in PA within 60 days of the marriage ceremony.
ñ If either party was intoxicated at the time of the marriage and requests an annulment of marriage in Pennsylvania within 60 days, the marriage may be considered voidable.
ñ If a party is unable to consummate the marriage physically with sexual intercourse, and this impotence is “natural and incurable,” the court may grant an annulment of marriage in PA.
ñ If one party was being defrauded, coerced or forced into marriage, the marriage is voidable. The party will need to prove that they did not voluntarily live with their spouse after being released or finding out about the fraud.
While annulment of marriage in Pennsylvania is harder to obtain than divorce, it may not always generate more benefits for either party. You may wish to consult with a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer before deciding to begin the process of seeking an annulment of marriage in PA.