Annulment of Marriage, in law, is the determination by a court that a supposed marriage was never legally valid. Annulment, also called nullity of marriage, is distinguished from divorce, which is the action of a court in terminating a valid marriage.
Marriages subject to annulment proceedings are classified as “void” or “voidable.” A void marriage is one that is deemed invalid in all respects. Examples of void marriages include those involving incest or bigamy.
A voidable marriage occurs when some defect exists in the contractual agreement in which all marriages originate. Examples are marriages of the underaged or the insane or a marriage procured by fraudulent means. Sexual impotency existing at the time of marriage also gives grounds for annulment. A voidable marriage may be annulled only in a lawsuit brought by the aggrieved party directly against the guilty party. In practice, voidable marriages are valid until annulled, and any children are legitimate.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (1999)
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