Should my Marriage be Annulled?

Below is a list of reasons that would render a marriage invalid if both parties to the marriage knowingly and wilfully acquiesced in the solemnization of a marriage between them. Your marriage is therefore void if:

(a) the person who officiated the ceremony was not a marriage officer; and/or

(b) the ceremony took place otherwise than in the presence of two (2) witnesses besides a marriage officer; and/or

(c) the marriage was solemnized between persons either of whom were under age 16 years; and/or

(d) the parties to the marriage are deemed to be within the prohibited degree of consanguinity, that is, the parties are related by blood;

In all the instances listed above the marriage would be void and either party may apply to the court for a decree of nullity of marriage.

Other Reasons for Annulment

1. Where there is lack of consent by either party to the marriage. This could take the form of consent by duress

2. Where there is a mistake as to the nature of the ceremony

3. Where at the time of the marriage ceremony one party was incapable of understanding the Ceremony - Unsoundness of Mind.

4. Where one party was already married, that is, the act of committing bigamy.

5. Where the parties to the marriage were at the time of the marriage of the SAME sex.

Remember if both parties had full knowledge of the facts they cannot then apply for a decree of nullity of marriage as this would amount to acquiescence.

Consummation of Marriage

If your marriage has NOT been consummated then it is deemed voidable, that is, one party may apply to the court to nullify the marriage as the marriage is valid until it is rendered invalid by the Court.

The marriage may have not been consummated where there is wilful refusal by one party. Note, however, that the party who refuses to consummate the marriage is not entitled to petition the court.

Therefore, where a marriage is void, the petitioner should apply to the court for Decree of Nullity of Marriage NOT a Decree for Dissolution of Marriage.

Prepared by Janice Buchanan-McLean, Attorney-at-Law - Law Offices of J. Buchanan-McLean on March 15, 2014

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