The average length of a U.S. marriage that ends in divorce is nine years. A divorce terminates a legal marriage; however, not every marriage in the U.S. is legal.
Partners who wish to divorce, but who were never in a legal marriage, can file for an annulment. An annulment is essentially a legal procedure that declares the marriage never happened. To determine if your marriage is eligible for an annulment, consider the following common grounds for annulment in the state of Virginia.
- Bigamy. A marriage is considered null and void if either party was married to another person at the time of their marriage. This includes parties who are separated from their spouse, but not divorced.
- Fraud. A marriage can't be valid if the marriage is based on a misrepresentation of either party without the other party's knowledge. For instance, if one party has stolen the identity of another person and has married the other party under that stolen identity without that party's knowledge, the marriage is null and void.
- Underage marriage. A marriage can't be considered valid if either party is under the age of 18. Only if a party has parental consent or court approval can an underage marriage be valid.
- Incestual marriage. A marriage isn't valid of either party is the ancestor, descendant, sibling, uncle/aunt, or niece/nephew of the other. This includes half-siblings and adoptive siblings.
- Mental incapacity. A marriage is null and void if either party was unable to give informed consent at the time of the marriage due to the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Forced consent. A marriage isn't valid if either party was forced into the marriage and therefore didn't consent. This includes a party being threatened into marrying the other party or entering the marriage only because they were under duress.
- Mental illness. Those who are mentally ill are able to enter a marriage, but only if they're able to give consent. If a party is unable to give consent to a marriage due to mental illness or emotional disturbance at the time of the marriage, the marriage is null and void.
Divorce lawyers in Harrisonburg can give you the legal assistance and legal advice you need during a divorce. If you believe your marriage is null and void and therefore eligible for an annulment, consider contacting your local divorce lawyers in Harrisonburg VA for more information.