Guide to Annulment of Marriage in New York
When a marriage ends, in some cases, you may want to pursue a divorce option called annulment of marriage. If you are considering obtaining an annulment of marriage in NY, you should understand how the state's annulment laws work and why you might prefer to annul your marriage rather than get a divorce. This guide will explain when an annulment of marriage in New York can be obtained, and what couples are eligible. You'll also learn why in most cases, an annulment of marriage in NY is not significantly different from a divorce in its effects.
What is Annulment?
When a couple divorces, the marriage is recognized as having been valid and existing, but the couple has agreed to end the relationship. When a couple obtains an annulment of marriage in New York, the annulment makes the marriage non-existent retroactively, so that it is as if the couple had never been married at all.
Conditions for Annulment of Marriage in New York
If you want to obtain an annulment of marriage in NY, you will have to show that your marriage was either void or voidable. A void marriage is one where, no matter how long you have been married, the marriage can never be legally valid and you can always obtain an annulment of marriage in New York. The only reason that this happens is that one or both parties were ineligible to marry in the first place—for instance, if the couple is too closely related to allow a legal marriage, or if one or both people in the couple were already married at the time of the ceremony and had not obtained an annulment or divorce.
Voidable marriages, on the other hand, require you to present evidence to a judge and have the marriage ruled upon. If one or both people in a couple is incurably insane for five years or more, or if one or both people are incurably unable to engage in sexual intercourse. In order to be granted an annulment of marriage in NY, you or your spouse will have to be able to prove this in court and show that you have been residents of New York for at least one year.
Declaration of Nullity
When you obtain an annulment of marriage in New York, a declaration of nullity will be issued by the court. This will divide your property, child custody, and take care of any other issues pertaining to your separation from your spouse. This procedure is functionally equivalent to a divorce, and because it is significantly harder to obtain an annulment of marriage in NY than a divorce, most couples prefer to divorce even if they may have been eligible for annulment.
Religious Annulment of Marriage in New York
In addition to civil annulment, some religious groups allow for private religious annulment of marriage in NY. The rules for religious annulment are not set by the state of New York, so the rules for obtaining an annulment of marriage in New York that satisfies church conditions are up to the church itself. In some religious traditions, it will be impossible to have a church wedding to a second partner unless you obtain an annulment of marriage in NY rather than a divorce.