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When married couples decide to separate, often their first thought will be that they will need to get divorced. However, there is an alternative to a formal divorce and that alternative is annulment. Annulment is another way of legally ending a marriage.
We understand that the breakdown of a marriage can be stressful so we provide quick and helpful advice to help you get to the root of your problem and enable you to take prompt action. If you are considering an annulment, contact Saracens Solicitors. We are specialists in annulment and can advise you on whether an annulment is suitable for you.
What is an annulment?
An annulment is a legal declaration by the court that the marriage was never valid and reverses the couple’s status to what it was before they entered the marriage. There are two declarations that can be made by the court:
1) The marriage is void – This means that the marriage was never valid.
2) The marriage is voidable – This means that the marriage was valid up until the annulment was declared.
An annulment may be preferable in circumstances where there are religious and cultural sensitivities about obtaining an actual divorce. Some people do not want to go through the divorce process or to be known as divorcees for personal reasons. At Saracens Solicitors we understand the importance of religion and culture in these circumstances and can advise you accordingly.
Grounds for annulment
There are four grounds which will enable you to apply for an annulment and a declaration that your marriage is void:
1) You and your husband/wife are closely related.
2) You and your husband/wife are of the same gender/sex.
3) Either you or your husband/wife were under 16 years of age at the time of the marriage.
4) Either you or your husband/wife were already married or in a civil partnership at the time of the marriage.
There are five grounds for an annulment which will declare your marriage voidable:
1) The marriage has never been consummated since the date of your marriage due to either you or your husband/wife’s incapacity.
2) The marriage has not been consummated since the date of the marriage due to your husband/wife’s wilful refusal to do so.
3) Either you or your husband/wife never consented to the marriage.
4) Either you or your husband/wife had a sexually transmitted disease at the time of the marriage.
5) Your wife was pregnant by another man at the time of the marriage.
At Saracens Solicitors we can advise you on whether any of these grounds apply to you during our initial consultation with you.
Procedure of annulment
The procedure for an annulment is similar to that of a divorce. To begin the proceedings, one of the parties will have to issue a petition. In an annulment a petition can be issued straight after the date of marriage. Once the petition is processed by the court, the other party will have to indicate whether they agree to the annulment or not. An annulment requires an attendance at court and for the parties to give oral evidence.
Saracens Solicitors can help with all the preparations of an annulment from issuing the petition to your attendance at court. We will assist you at each step of the way in a sensitive manner and keep you regularly informed on the progress of your annulment.
In an annulment you can also make a claim for a financial settlement. There is a common misconception that there can be no financial remedy in annulment proceedings. If you are seeking an annulment and you have matrimonial property or assets which need to be divided, issuing a financial claim will be the next step for you.
We specialise in financial settlements following the breakdown of a marriage. Our specialist family solicitors can assist you in obtaining the best financial settlement for you.
If you are considering an annulment or have any queries about annulment and whether it is suitable for you, please contact our specialist annulments solicitor on 0203 588 3500.