Annulment in Pennsylvania

Divorce Papers » Annulment in Pennsylvania

Annulment in Pennsylvania is a rare occurrence due to the practical and legal purposes. The preferred way to end or dissolve a marriage is divorce.

There are two types of marriage eligible for an annulment in Pennsylvania. These types are as follows:

  1. Void Marriage - A marriage which is invalid right from the beginning due to some or other reason as given by the statute of Pennsylvania is called as a void marriage. The examples of this marriage are incestuous marriage, bigamous marriage or the marriage entered by force.

  2. Voidable Marriage - A marriage which can be considered valid until the annulment is granted due to some discovery which threatens the well-being or the normal functioning of a marriage is called voidable marriage. The examples of this marriage are insanity, impotency, physical abuse or imprisonment.

These marriages are considered invalid on the basis of certain situations or circumstances in which they were conducted which were "impediments to the formation of a legal marriage".

Grounds for Annulment in Pennsylvania:

The grounds for annulment in Pennsylvania have been given by the statute. These grounds are narrowed down such that annulment is difficult (but not impossible) to get. These grounds are as follows:

  • Desertion - The desertion of a spouse comprises of abandonment and renouncing all the responsibilities of the household and the spouse as well as the children for a period of more than one year. Such an abandonment is considered as willful desertion and is a firm base for filing for an annulment in the state of Pennsylvania.

    However, the claims of desertion or abandonment for such a long period need to be proven in front of the judge in order to get an annulment in the state of Pennsylvania.

  • Adultery - Having multiple sexual encounters, one-night stands or flings with partners outside the wedlock while being married to a person constitutes adultery. The wronged spouse can file for an annulment in Pennsylvania on the grounds of adultery if he / she finds out that they have been cheated upon.

    The acts of adultery need to be proved in the court in order to get an annulment just like in case of divorce.

  • Insanity, Mental Illness or Mental Disorder - If a spouse finds out that the person s/he married to is suffering from temporary or permanent insanity or is been diagnosed with a mental disorder or illness which may affect the health of the suffering individual and cause his / her health to deteriorate rendering them incapable to lead a normal family life, such a marriage can be annulled by submitting the medical certificate in the court.

  • Same-sex Marriage - The marriages between the gay and lesbian couples are prohibited by the statute of Pennsylvania. As these marriages are prohibited by the state, they are invalid right from the beginning and thus can be annulled immediately.

    No other grounds need to be cited to get an annulment in case of same-sex marriages. The marriage prohibited by law is as good as a marriage carried out by an unordained priest; it is void.

  • Cruel Treatment - The cruel treatment resulting in physical injuries and assault by one spouse on the other is a firm ground for an annulment. Suspiciousness, locking a spouse in the house, mental torture by threats or forcibly engaging in sexual intercourse also constitutes cruel treatment.

    After the cruel treatment is proved in a court, a restraining order is granted and the annulment is proceeded immediately.

  • Imprisonment - If either of the spouse is imprisoned under the conviction of felony or any other reason for more than two years and the imprisonment took place shortly after the marriage was conducted, such a marriage can be annulled on the grounds of imprisonment.

    The wronged spouse can file for an annulment citing the threat to well-being as well as desertion on the part of the imprisoned spouse.

    These reasons need to be supported by the evidence of the effects this imprisonment has on the lifestyle of the wronged spouse. In many cases, imprisonment alone cannot be a grounds for an annulment in the state of Pennsylvania.

  • Fraud - Concealment of important information pertaining to important issues of a married life can be termed as fraud. This could be intentional as well as unintentional. This information could be related to income, social status, sexual preference or any responsibilities from a previous relationship such as marriage.

    The wronged spouse can cite any of these reasons, but they need to be proved either with the use of medical certificates, testimonies of the related people or other documentation.

  • Duress - If a person is forced to enter a wedlock by means of threats, coercion or duress, such a marriage is considered as invalid and can be annulled immediately. The wronged spouse can file for an annulment on the grounds of force or duress.

    However, if the couple has been cohabiting after marriage, annulment cannot be granted and the couple has to file for divorce in such case.

  • Impotency - If either of the spouses is impotent, that is, unable to consummate the marriage due to physical inability, hidden sexual preference, fetishism or any other reason that renders them incapable of cohabitation is termed as impotency and the marriage can be annulled on the grounds of inability to consummate the marriage.

All in all, annulment is a difficult option in Pennsylvania as various grounds need to be proved which can be difficult in some cases. For such couples, divorce is an ideal option.

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