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Annulment: An alternative to some divorces in Virginia

We have often discussed divorces and various aspects of divorce on this blog. Some of our readers might be interested to learn that there is an alternative to divorce that might be a viable option for some people in Virginia. That option is an annulment.

Annulments aren't an option for everyone who is facing the end of a marriage. In the simplest terms, an annulment erases the marriage. In order for that to occur, the marriage must not have been allowable by law or by choice. This helps people who were victims of fraud, for example, to dissolve a marriage without a divorce.

In order for a couple to qualify for an annulment, specific conditions must be met. One of these is that they must have lived in the state for at least six months. They must file a Complaint for Annulment in their county of residence.

There are also specific circumstantial grounds that must be met for an annulment to be granted. Certain situations, such as fraud, duress, mental incapacity or conception of a child with another party are some examples of grounds for annulment. In those cases, however, the married parties can't have cohabitated after the discovery of the grounds. That means if a man finds out his wife is carrying another man's child, he can't seek an annulment if they cohabitated after he found out the child wasn't his. Marriages of some blood relatives also qualify for an annulment.

All annulments have to be brought within two years of the marriage. Even if a marriage is annulled, the children from that marriage are considered legitimate.

Seeking an annulment can be difficult. You must make sure that your situation meets the requirements of the law. Working with someone to learn about annulments and divorces might help you to make an informed decision.

Source: FindLaw, "Virginia Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws" Oct. 29, 2014

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