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Under What Grounds Can A Marriage Be Annulled Or Made Void?
Peter Paras, a family lawyer in Red Bank, answers:
In most states, marriages can be annulled if the parties are too closely related. Every state bans marriages between siblings and between children and parents. Many states prohibit marriages between first cousins; however, each state is different in this respect. If the relationship is of a nature that is not permitted, the marriage can be annulled. Additionally, most states allow for the annulment of any marriage induced by a fraud that goes to the essence of the marriage. Most typically, this involves a misrepresentation about or a failure to disclose an inability to have children. In some states, the failure to disclose a history of mental illness may also trigger an annulment. When a marriage is annulled, for legal purposes, it never existed. It is also important to make a distinction between a civil annulment and an ecclesiastic annulment. Only the civil annulment can affect the parties’ legal rights. Conversely, the legal annulment is generally of no significance to religious authorities, who have their own sets of rules governing annulments.
Peter Paras is a New Jersey divorce lawyer and name partner in the family law firm of Paras, Apy & Reiss, P.C. in Red Bank, NJ. He is also a past member of Divorce Magazine’s Advisory Board.