An annulment is the legal voiding of a marriage, treating it as if it never existed. North Carolina law only allows marriages to be annulled in very specific circumstances. Annulments are different and less common than absolute divorces in North Carolina. For a marriage to be annulled, necessary papers must be filed with the court and a judge must enter an annulment order. The family law attorneys at Bagwell Holt Smith P.A. can help determine if your marriage qualifies for annulment and if so, file the required papers.

A marriage may be annulled in the following situations:

  • Improper relationship/incest: The husband and wife are closer than first cousins (for example: double first cousins, uncle/niece, siblings)
  • False pretenses: The husband and wife were married believing the wife was pregnant, but then separated within 45 days of the marriage and no child was born within 10 months of the separation
  • Impotency: Either spouse was physically impotent at the time of the marriage (impotence must be medically diagnosed by a doctor)
  • Soundness of mind: Either spouse was “not of sound mind” and incapable of entering a contract at the time of the marriage
  • Nonage: One of the spouses was under the age of 16 at the time of the marriage (unless there was a court order allowing marriage between ages 14-16 when the wife is pregnant)
  • Duress: Consent for marriage must be made freely, seriously and plainly expressed. Any violence or threats that would take away the will or understanding or consent freely, seriously and plainly expressed could be sufficient to declare a marriage void for duress.
  • Bigamy: A marriage entered into while either of the parties is a party to a valid prior marriage which has not been dissolved is absolutely void.

We can help answer your questions concerning annulment, which may include:

  • Is annulment an appropriate legal remedy for ending a marriage that is brief in duration or was never consummated?
  • What are the grounds to obtain an annulment of marriage?
  • Is marital fault relevant?
  • What defenses can be raised?
  • What are the effects of annulment on other issues, e.g. child custody, child support and property?

If you are interested in learning more about annulment or divorce options, schedule a consultation with us so that you can make an informed decision.