Having a marriage annulled is different from getting a divorce. When you get a divorce you end a marriage, but when you get an annulment, you get a court order saying that the marriage never happened at all. The marriage was never valid or legal. Some people choose to get an annulment instead of a divorce for religious reasons. In the annulment process in Ohio, you must first identify grounds for an annulment under Ohio law and then file the right action within the time limit set by state statutes.
Grounds for Annulment
Under Ohio law, you can have a marriage annulled when one of the parties to the marriage was under the legal age of consent at the time of the marriage. That is 18 for males and 16 for females, but minors must have parental consent. A marriage can be annulled when one of the parties was already married at the time, or if one of the parties was mentally ill in a way that affects the marriage. The marriage can also be annulled if one of the parties is impotent, the marriage is never consummated or the marriage is entered into based on fraud or force.
The aggrieved party must file an action to obtain a decree of nullity of a marriage in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where one of the parties resides.
Time for Filing
If one of the parties was already married, or if one of the parties is mentally ill, the other party can file for an annulment any time while both of them are alive. If a mentally incompetent person is declared competent and the other spouse voluntarily cohabits with that person, the marriage cannot be annulled. If one party was underage, he or she can file for an annulment up to 2 years after reaching the age of consent, or a parent or guardian can file for annulment before the party reaches the age of consent. If the marriage was induced by fraud, the other party can file up to 2 years after learning of the fraud. In either of these cases if the other party voluntarily cohabited with the spouse after reaching the age of consent or after discovering the fraud, he or she cannot file for an annulment. If the marriage was entered into by force, the other party can file up to 2 years after the marriage unless there has been voluntary cohabitation. If a spouse is impotent and the marriage has not been consummated, the other spouse can file up to 2 years after the marriage.
- couple image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com