What does Pennsylvania law say about annulment?

In some cases, a person can seek annulment of a marriage rather than a divorce, which declares the union completely void rather than ended. Pennsylvania law establishes the circumstances in which the state allows an annulment.

Review the process of requesting an annulment and possible reasons for doing so.

Void marriages

The state considers a marriage void when it goes against Pennsylvania law. The court will declare a state legally invalid in cases when either spouse also has another spouse, the spouses are first cousins, one of the spouses is not mentally capable of consenting to marriage, or one or both spouses was younger than 18 at the time of the marriage.

Voidable marriages

Pennsylvania will declare voidable marriages as void by legal request. Marriages that qualify for this process including those in which one person consented to marry another based on fraud, coercion or duress. The state will also void a marriage if either spouse physically cannot have sexual intercourse, at least one spouse was under 18 and did not have parental consent or at least one spouse was younger than 16 at the time of the marriage.

If a person enters a marriage under the influence of a controlled substance, Pennsylvania considers that marriage voidable. However, the person who wants an annulment only has two months after the wedding date to do so in this case.

When any of these circumstances applies, either spouse can file an annulment action with the family court where they received the marriage license. They must prove the grounds for annulment in a court hearing.

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