Marital Annulment in Delaware

Divorce Papers » Marital Annulment in Delaware

The process for annulment in Delaware is identical to the divorce process in Delaware. It is treated in the same way as a divorce suit. There are two types of petition for annulment in Delaware. These are as follows:

  1. Uncontested Petition - An uncontested petition is the petition to which the respondent responds with the acceptance of charges leveled against him or her. Thus, rendering the hearing unnecessary. In this type of petition, the court directly proceeds to examining the evidence provided by the petitioner.

  2. Contested Petition - A contested petition on the other hand is the petition which is challenged by the respondent as false allegations or counter-filed divorce suit. In such cases, the court transfers the annulment suit to divorce.

Grounds for Annulment in Delaware:

The grounds for annulment in Delaware as specified by the statute are as follows:

  • Mental Incapacity - When a person is intoxicated, suffers from bouts of insanity or simply immature to understand the seriousness of the marital bond, such a marriage can be annulled on the grounds of mental incapacity. However, the insanity or the intoxication during the marriage needs to be proved in the court in order to get an annulment in Delaware. Besides, the petitioner must not be aware of these conditions while getting married.

    If it is found that the petitioner had an inkling of these problems while getting married, the annulment suit cannot be processed and the court orders the couple to file for divorce instead.

  • Underage Marriage - A person who is under the legal marriageable age is not supposed to marry. In special circumstances, where matters such as teenage pregnancy are involved, parental consent is necessary to make the underage marriage valid. However, such cases are rare and if present the children do not have the parental consent to get married.

    The age proof of the underage spouse must be submitted to the court in order to get an annulment on these grounds. Besides, underage marriage is a legal offense and may carry a sentence according to the circumstances.

  • Consanguinity - Marriage between two people descending from the same bloodline is known as consanguinity. A rather harsh term for this kind of marriage is incest. Sexual relations between blood relatives are not permitted or prohibited by the law of state and thus this marriage is legally offensive.

    Nothing can be done to make this marriage valid as it has its base in an illegal concept. Whether it is entered into knowingly or unknowingly, this marriage should be annulled as it cannot be made valid in any conditions. Such marriages as void ab initio, that is, invalid right from the beginning. Being invalid, these marriages have to be declared null and void. However, the children born in such marriages are legitimate.

  • Habitual Substance Abuse - If either of the spouse indulges in habitual substance abuse such as alcohol, drugs or medication, the other partner can file for annulment on these grounds. However, if the petitioner was aware of the habit before the marriage took place, annulment suit cannot be filed. In such cases, divorce remains the only option. If the petitioner was not aware of the condition prior to the marriage, the annulment can be granted on this base.

    However, the proof of substance abuse needs to provided to the court. The court decides whether it is substantial and then the annulment is granted; or not.

  • Fraud or Misrepresentation - When a partner is lured into a marriage under the false pretenses or fraudulent behavior, such marriage has its base on the fraud and thus, can be annulled on the grounds of fraud or misrepresentation. However, this fraud or misrepresentation must be related to the vital part, which seriously endangers the smooth functioning of a marriage. For instance, previous sex change operation, sterility, impotency, sexually transmitted diseases or any other reason which make the marriage difficult to work out.

    However, the proof of fraud or misrepresentation is hard to submit and thus it is hard to get an annulment on these grounds.

  • Bigamy - When a person married someone even if he / she is previously married and the previous marriage is not dissolved by any legal means, such a marriage is considered as bigamy. It is illegal according to the state law and carries a sentence as it is the form of a prohibited marriage by the state law.

    The proof of bigamy has to be presented to the court so as to get an annulment on these grounds. The testimony of the previous husband or wife and the certificate and other documents of previous marriage can provide enough proof to the court so as to reach the verdict.

  • Duress or Force - When one of the spouses uses force to make the other spouse marry him / her, such a marriage has its base in force or duress. The force comprises of threats to kill, coercion or other methods of terrifying the person so that they agree to the marriage and enter the wedlock. Such marriages are termed as gunpoint weddings and their number increases every year.

    It is very difficult to submit the proof of force or duress as the threatening spouse may prove a danger to both, the partner and the children.

  • Physical Inability to Consummate the Marriage - The physical inability to consummate the marriage can be a firm base to annul a marriage. The basic aim of marriage is to procreate. The inability to consummate the marriage endangers this main purpose of marriage and is thus, a ground for annulment.

    Providing the proofs on this inability may sound like a tricky task and thus, one should tread cautiously while collecting the evidence that might help their case.

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