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Is Annulment an Option?

By Wendy Alton – In the state of Michigan, you can end your marriage by filing for one of three things: divorce, separate maintenance (legal separation), or annulment. An annulment is only granted if the marriage itself was void from the beginning or the marriage is voidable.

A void marriage in Michigan is a marriage that could not have taken place legally from the beginning. What this means is that there was consanguinity, affinity, bigamy, minority, incapacity or incompetency. In simple, plain English, this means the following:

Consanguinity: you married a blood relative prohibited by law.

Affinity: you married a blood relative of your spouse prohibited by law.

Bigamy: you married someone who was already married.

Minority: you or your spouse is under the age of 16, or between 16 and 18 and you didn’t get a parent’s consent.

Incapacity & Incompetency: you or your spouse has a mental illness or is mentally incompetent to the degree that you or your spouse cannot enter into a contract.

Marriages that are void as a matter of law (examples above) can be ended with an annulment.

Voidable marriages in Michigan mean marriages that can be voided for fraud, duress, sterility and impotence. Sterility and impotence must be incurable. In order to have your marriage annulled for these reasons, you must file for an annulment within two years of the marriage. Examples of fraud and duress are as follows:

You marry someone to obtain a green card (for immigration purposes only).

A person is induced to marry because they are told that a child is biologically theirs, and this turns out not to be true.

You marry under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

You marry someone who is barren or sterile and they do not tell you.

You marry because you are threatened. (duress)

The grounds for a voidable marriage must be proven with clear and convincing evidence in order to obtain an annulment.

There are, however, defenses to annulment. This is particularly so if the spouse finds out about any of the reasons above and still lives with the other person even after finding out. Cohabitation is a defense, and can overcome any request for an annulment based upon voidable grounds.

If you are interested in learning more, please call divorce attorneys in Ann Arbor at 734-665-4441.

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