As a Raleigh divorce attorney, I am often asked if a client can get an annulment. On most occasions, the question arises due to a short marriage, due to a spouse using drugs or due to a spouse having an affair.
Unfortunately, North Carolina law is quite strict when it comes to seeking an annulment.
North Carolina law essentially provides the following grounds for an annulment of a marriage:
- A marriage between close family members;
- A marriage when one party is under age 16 (with exceptions);
- A marriage where one party is already married;
- A marriage where one party is physically impotent;
- A marriage where one party is incompetent; or
- A marriage where the wife lied about being pregnant.
What is missing from this list? Most clients think they can get an annulment if they have been married for less than 30 days. This is not true. North Carolina law does not allow an annulment just because of a short marriage.
Interestingly, the case of impotence is often used as grounds for annulment. I have successfully handled cases in Raleigh where we had to prove that a husband is impotent. It is not the most fun talking about the subject in a courtroom, but it can be a very effective way to obtain an annulment. Another common method for obtaining an annulment is to show that your spouse never properly divorced their first spouse. I have seen this occur many times. It is most often a result of paperwork errors.
One thing to remember, North Carolina does not allow parties to agree in writing to an annulment or allow an annulment without a court hearing. We often hear on television that an actress or musician got a quick annulment. This will not work in Raleigh. In fact, the judges in Raleigh require us to present testimony under oath. There is simply no such thing as signing an agreement for an annulment in North Carolina.
The old adage that it is much easier to get into a marriage than to get out of one is very true.
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A final thought . . . handling an uncontested divorce may be simple in today’s times. Handling an annulment is not simple. Please feel free to call our attorneys at 919-615-2473 if we can help with your annulment. It is a difficult time if you are considering an annulment. We understand and we are here to help. Request a case review today!
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