Annulment DivorceI am frequently asked whether couples can have their short-term marriage annulled rather than filing for a divorce. The answer depends on more than simply the length of your marriage. Parties may have their marriage annulled when a judge determines that the marriage was null or void from the beginning. Basically, these marriages never existed because the requirements for being married were not ever met. Therefore, the process of annulment is not tied to the length of the marriage but rather the validity of that marriage.

There are a number of legal grounds for annulment in Tennessee, including:

  • Insanity – a spouse was insane or unable to understand the nature of marriage when the spouses married
  • Underage – one or both spouses was too young to be married
  • Incest – the spouses are related, closer than first cousin
  • Bigamy – a spouse has a living husband or wife at the time of marriage
  • Duress – a spouse only married because they were coerced
  • Fraud – one spouse defrauded the other into getting married
  • Impotence – one spouse physically cannot have sexual intercourse, and
  • Denial of marital rights – one spouse refuses to live with the other or have sexual relations during the marriage.

When a couple qualifies for an annulment, the marriage is dissolved as if a marriage never existed, because legally it did not. To qualify for an annulment is difficult, and it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney in order to void your marriage (whether through annulment or by ending the marriage with a divorce).

Do not be misguided in thinking that an annulment will be easier than a divorce. Typically, an annulment is more difficult to finalize than a divorce, as there are very limited circumstances in which a judge will grant an annulment.

Due to the technical nature of obtaining an annulment, it is best for you to seek legal advice prior to filing a petition.

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