Annulment is different from a divorce in that an annulment completely voids a marriage. In the eyes of the court and law, the marriage never existed. Annulment is allowed only for marriages in which it is found that the individuals never should have been married in the first place. In order to be granted an annulment, a marriage must meet certain criteria.
If one party of the marriage can prove incurable impotence, preventing the consummation of marriage, that can be considered grounds for an annulment. However, the other party must not have been aware of the impotence of her spouse prior to the marriage. Other qualifying physical criteria include infection with a sexually transmitted disease.
There are several factors that influence a person's mental capacity that may be grounds for an annulment. A marriage can be annulled if at least one party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of marriage. Other mental considerations that are grounds for annulment include coercion or force. If one party entered the marriage based on the belief in and reliance on untrue statements made by the other party, the marriage can be annulled.
There are certain circumstances that make it illegal to marry, and therefore such a marriage would meet the criteria for annulment. If one party entered a marriage while married to another person, the marriage can be annulled. A marriage may also be annulled if one party in the marriage is underage and did not have proper parental consent to be wedded. Other legal criteria for annulment include a marriage that is discovered to be incestuous.
- ring image by Jens Klingebiel from Fotolia.com