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Null and void

Question

How I can legally nullify my marriage. I'd rather avoid divorce for religious reasons. Is this possible, and if so how do I go about it?

Answer

In most cases you won't be able to nullify your marriage, but will have to go through a divorce. However, there are certain circumstances where your marriage is automatically void, like if your partner was a blood relative or under 16.

Since you have religious objections to divorce you could apply for a Judicial Separation. However, this does not free either of you to marry again.

If your marriage is not valid for any reason then you can have the marriage 'Annulled'. This is done by presenting a 'Nullity Petition'.

Here are some examples of when you may seek an annulment of your marriage:

  • It has not been consummated (i.e. you have not had sex with each other since you were married)
  • At the time of the marriage your partner was already married to someone else
  • One of you was under 16 years of age when you got married
  • You have inter-married (i.e. married a close relative)
  • Your partner had a sexually transmitted infection at the time of the marriage and they were aware of this at the time, but you weren't
  • Your partner was pregnant with another person's child at the time of the marriage and they were aware of this at the time, but you weren't
  • You must apply to annul the marriage within a reasonable period of time, in some cases this will be within three years. There is no requirement to have been married for 12 months before applying for a nullity.
  • Your partner was pregnant with another person's child at the time of the marriage and they were aware of this at the time, but you weren't

You must apply to annul the marriage within a reasonable period of time, in some cases this will be within three years. There is no requirement to have been married for 12 months before applying for a nullity.

There is more information about ending a marriage on the CAB website. If you believe you're able to end your marriage through annulment it's advisable to seek specialist legal advice.

Updated: 29/01/2013


Question answered by CAB


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