In some cases, getting married quickly comes with immediate doubts.
Although divorce rates have declined, some people soon realize that they do not belong in the marriage. For various reasons, an annulment may provide a better option than a divorce but has its own complexities.
1. Does Pennsylvania allow annulments?
The state does allow annulments. While also a process to terminate a marriage, it essentially ends a marriage by formally ordering that the marriage did not require a divorce due to its invalidity. The courts consider these types of marriages valid but voidable in some circumstances. To get considered for an annulment, the process must start within 60 days of the marriage date.
2. What does the state consider grounds for annulment?
For the courts to consider a marriage voidable, it must meet certain criteria. Age remains a top criterion. If under 16 or 18 without legal consent, the courts will typically void the marriage. For adults, annulment gets more complex. The main criteria that may lead to an annulment order include one or both spouses getting married while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the couple cannot consummate the marriage, or the marriage happened due to fraud, coercion or duress.
3. What steps do I take to obtain an annulment?
To obtain an annulment, a person must provide evidence that meets the state’s annulment criteria. A voidable marriage requires filing the necessary paperwork and preparing for a trial and hearing. The process typically takes four to six months.
Ending a marriage looks different for everyone. For some, annulment offers another way to legally dissolve it.