Annulment of Marriage in Massachusetts

Annulment of Marriage in Massachusetts

Annulment of Marriage in Massachusetts



What is an Annulment of Marriage?



An annulment is a formal means of terminating a marriage. An annulment is different from a separation or a divorce. Annulments nullify marriages. The annulment views the marriage as non-existent; the courts declare that the marriage never took place. 



To annul a marriage, the individual seeking the legal action must maintain sufficient grounds for an annulment. Grounds for annulment vary by state, but typically involve one spouse’s or party’s lack of capacity for marriage or some sort of fraud at the time of the marriage. 



Can I Get an Annulment of Marriage in MA?



As in many other states, married parties in MA can assume an annulment through the filing of a Complaint for Annulment at their local probate and family court. Annulments of marriage in Massachusetts are governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 207, Section 14; this statute allows either party to file an action for an annulment of marriage in Massachusetts. Moreover, this statute also allows one of the parties to institute an action for affirming the marriage.



It must be stated: courts in Massachusetts rarely grant annulments of marriage in Massachusetts, unless the petitioner (individual filing for an annulment of marriage in Massachusetts) can clearly demonstrate that the marriage is fraudulent or invalid. An annulment of marriage in Massachusetts is not the same as a divorce. With a divorce filing, one or both spouses petition the probate and family court to terminate their valid marriage. Whereas with an annulment of marriage in Massachusetts, one or both of the parties must seek to prove that their marriage was never valid or that the marriage should be voided because it is not legally recognizable. A voidable marriage is deemed binding and legal if the parties opt to remain married. 



In either of the aforementioned instances, if the petition for an annulment of marriage in MA is successful, the party will literally undo their marriage by treating their union as non-existent. With a void marriage, the parties do not need to petition the state court, because—by definition of marriage law—they were never legally married. 



To be granted an annulment of marriage in MA, the party seeking the annulment must demonstrate that the reason given in the complaint was, indeed, the reason he/she left the marriage. Annulments of marriage in Massachusetts—under the voided rule of an annulment of marriage in MA-- can be granted under the following grounds: 1.) consanguinity, where the parties are blood relatives, such as sister and brother; 2) affinity, where the parties are closely related through marriage, such with a son and a mother-in-law or 3.) bigamy, where one party is legally married to another person at the time of the marriage in question. That being said, if the petitioner (person seeking the annulment of marriage in MA) knew of the other marriage, he/she must seek a divorce as oppose to an annulment of marriage in Massachusetts. 



With voidable marriage, the parties must file a complaint for annulment of marriage in Massachusetts that describes one of the several grounds for a dissolution: 1.) one of the parties showed a lack of mental capacity to consent to marriage, including if one spouse was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, mentally ill or below the legal age of consent; 2.) impotence , when the male lacks the natural or actual ability to perform sex/ejaculation—and thus the inability to have children; 3.) fraud with regards to the inducement to the marriage contract (i.e.) if one spouse claims to be marrying for love, but actually marries to avoid deportation; duress, when one party was forced to the other. These reasons—if present during the ceremony or in precipitation of the marriage—are sufficient to secure annulments of marriage in MA. 






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