Annulment (sometimes known as ‘nullity’) is a declaration by the courts that the marriage was not legally valid or had become legally invalid. To annul a marriage, you must apply to the court by way of a ‘Nullity Petition’ and the two grounds for annulling a marriage in the UK are that the marriage was not legally valid (‘void’) or that the marriage is valid but defective (‘voidable).You can annul a void marriage if it was not legally valid in the first place, for example:
- you’re closely related to the person you married
- one or both of you were under 16
- one of you was already married or in a civil partnership
If a marriage was never legally valid, the law says that it never existed. You’ll need to show that the marriage:
- was never legally valid (‘void’)
- was legally valid, but meets one of the reasons that makes it ‘voidable’
However, you may need legal paperwork (a ‘decree of nullity’) to prove this – for example if you want to get married again. You can annul a voidable marriage for a number of reasons, such as:
- That the marriage was not consummated – you have not had sexual intercourse with the person you married since the wedding (does not apply for same sex couples)
- Either party did not properly consent to the marriage – for example you were coerced or forced into it, whether by mistake or duress.
- That the other party had a sexually transmitted disease (STD) when you got married
- Your spouse was pregnant by someone else when you got married
- That your spouse is in the process of transitioning to a different gender
As with divorce, your marriage legally exists until you annul it using one of these reasons. You can apply to have your marriage annulled as soon as you get married. Unlike divorce, you do not have to wait for a year. To annul your marriage, we shall assist you fill in a nullity petition and send 2 copies of the form to your nearest divorce court, and a copy of the petition to be kept by the petitioner. Filing a nullity petition form costs £550. Cost of preparing application and progressing the case – From £800 to £1,200 (uncontested nullity)Contested annulment of marriage – Our hourly fees apply – hourly fee ranging from £130 to £250.