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What is an annulment?

Divorce is a common means by which an Ohio couple may choose to dissolve a marriage that is not working. A less common way of dissolving a marriage, which is only available under certain circumstances, is to obtain an annulment.

Perhaps the best way of understanding annulment is by examining how it is different from divorce. When you and your spouse complete the divorce process, it means that your marriage is now over. However, according to the Ohio State Bar Association, if you and your spouse annul your marriage, not only does it mean that the marriage is over but, in the eyes of the law, it never happened in the first place. 

Annulment is available to you only in certain circumstances, but even if you qualify for an annulment, there are financial considerations to think about before you decide between an annulment and a divorce. An annulment is usually less expense than a divorce in terms of legal fees, etc., but if you have your marriage annulled, you are not eligible for spousal support (alimony).

Generally speaking, in order to qualify for an annulment, your marriage must have taken place under conditions that would render it invalid. Some examples of these conditions include the following:

  • At the time of the marriage, either you or your spouse was already married to someone else.
  • Either you or your spouse did not consent to the marriage of your own free will.
  • Either you or your spouse had not reached the legal age, which in Ohio is 16 for females and 18 for males, at the time the marriage took place.
  • Either you or your spouse committed fraud in order to obtain consent to your marriage from the other party.

In most of these cases, you must request an annulment within two years of the marriage date. If you and your spouse still lived together as husband and wife after discovery of the special circumstance, you are not eligible for an annulment.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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