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Articles Posted in Annulment

The annulment of a marriage erases the marriage completely, as if it never happened. Without a marriage, there is no marital property or debt. Therefore, in a civil action to annul a marriage, there will be no equitable distribution. There are other mechanisms to divide jointly owned property, but not by equitable distribution.

An action for annulment results in custody and child support orders, if children are involved, just as it would with any unmarried couple. Although rare, alimony can be awarded. Religious annulments are something entirely different and must be addressed with your religious leader, not the court system.

Grounds for Annulment

  • One spouse is already married or in a civil union and the other spouse was unaware of that at the time of the marriage
  • Nonage: Either spouse was under the age of 18 at the time of marriage, having no legal right to consent to marry
  • Duress: Threat of serious violence, or something similar, generally toward the spouse-to-be or a loved one, if that individual does not marry the threatening spouse-to-be
  • One or both of the spouses lack mental capacity or mental ability at the time of the marriage to give consent. Think in terms of severe intoxication as well as other physiological lack of metal capacity or ability.
  • Failure of one spouse to advise the other of their impotence. This includes the refusal to consummate the relationship as well as the inability to do so and if a woman conceals her inability to bear children
  • Marriage of between close blood relatives
  • Fraud and misrepresentation including:
  • Lie of either spouse about desire to have, or not have, children
  • Immigrant lies about reasons for marriage when really only going through the marriage to obtain citizenship
  • One spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol and misrepresents that to the other spouse prior to marriage
  • Lies of one spouse about their religious beliefs which was a major factor in the marriage or civil union
  • At time of marriage, wife fails to advise husband that she is pregnant by another man
  • NOT lies about financial circumstances (this has been found inadequate to support annulment)

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An annulment is a legal process that severs a marital relationship by voiding it. An annulment is different from a divorce in that a divorce ends a marriage, whereas an annulment deems that the marriage never happened. While New Jersey allows for a no-fault divorce, annulment requires the marriage to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for an annulment.


The reasons for obtaining an annulment are very limited, and as such most married couples do not qualify for an annulment and must use divorce to end the marriage. This is because annulments are only granted in cases in which the marriage should not have been valid in the first place. The following are considered grounds for annulment in the State of New Jersey:

  • either spouse was under age at the time of the marriage, and once attaining age 18 have not had sexual relations
  • incapacity by mental illness or intoxication
  • fraud, or lies, by you or your spouse
  • duress
  • incurable impotence at the time of the marriage
  • incest
  • bigamy

A common misconception of annulment is that it is an available option in marriages that only last a short time. A marriage that lasts only a matter of months but does meet one of the grounds above will not qualify for an annulment. Continue Reading →

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