Annulment in South Dakota

Divorce Papers » Annulment in South Dakota

The process of annulment in South Dakota is similar to the process of divorce or separation. The only difference between an annulment and a divorce is that when a divorce is granted, a legal marriage is broken; however, when annulment is granted, an invalid marriage is declared to be null and void. To get an annulment in South Dakota, it is very important to cite one of the grounds and provide the proof supporting these claims and allegations. The court reaches its decision only after verifying whether the grounds exist and the other conditions regarding the nature of the marriage.

Grounds for Annulment in South Dakota:

The grounds for annulment in South Dakota are very specific and need to be proved with the aid of a concrete proof that helps affirm the claims right away. At least one of the specified grounds must exist in order to get an annulment in South Dakota. These grounds are as follows:

  • Fraud or Misrepresentation - Indulging in fraudulent behavior or misrepresenting oneself in order to get married is an offense as the basis of a marital relationship is trust between two individuals. Misrepresentation or fraud could be anything from hiding previous sex-change operation, imprisonment due to conviction of felony, incarceration due to a mental illness, sexually transmitted diseases, sterility, sadomasochism, fetishism or any other disease that seriously endangers the normal functioning of a marital relationship.

    The time limit for filing for an annulment in such a case is 4 years from the discovery of fraud or misrepresentation. The aggrieved spouse can file for annulment on these grounds after providing enough proof supporting the claims and allegations. If the petitioner fails to prove the claims, the court dismisses the lawsuit for annulment and advises the petitioner to file for divorce instead.

  • Mental Incapacity - If the couple testifies that they were mentally incapable to make an important decision such as marriage due to certain circumstances, the court can consider these circumstances and grant an annulment. For instance, if the partners are drunk as a skunk and got married on a whim, which usually happens in the places like Las Vegas or that they had to marry because the woman was pregnant and they did not want to abandon the child or any other reason due to which the decision of marriage was taken in a hurry. However, in such cases, the marriage should not have been consummated. The consummation of a marriage makes such a marriage valid and annulment cannot be granted.

    The proof of the mental condition of the couple during the marriage can be submitted to the court with the help of the witnesses who were present for the ceremony and the marriage license and the certificate.

  • Underage Marriage - A person below the legal age of marriage is not allowed to get married in any circumstances. If either of the spouses is under the legal marriageable age during the wedding, such a marriage is considered as void ab initio and has to be annulled. The underage spouse or his / her parents can file for an annulment within 4 years of the marriage before the partner reaches the age of consent. If the marriage has been consummated, the court cannot grant an annulment and the couple has to file for divorce.

    The age proof of the underage partner and the marriage proofs such as license and the certificate have to be produced in front of the judge.

    Marrying a person under the legal marriageable age is a legally punishable offense in almost all the states of the USA including South Dakota. If the spouse has entered the wedlock by a free consent he / she can be subjected to a sentence.

  • Incestuous Marriage - Marriage between blood relatives such as parent ‒ child, grandparent ‒ grandchild, siblings, cousins, descendant ‒ ancestor or in short relatives who are descended from the same blood line cannot marry. Such marriages are classified as prohibited marriages and nothing can be done to validate them even if they have entered into the relationship unintentionally or both the partners entered the marriage in a good faith. A bit harsh term for such marriages is incestuous marriage.

    The proof of consanguinity has to be provided to the court, which is then verified with the available means. After verification, the court reaches its verdict and grants the annulment or does not.

  • Impotency - Inability to consummate the marriage due to the physical or psychological incapacity can be the sole ground for annulment according to the statute of South Dakota. Either of the partner should be unable to perform the sexual act leaving the other partner dissatisfied, besides leaving them no option but to get an annulment. The marriage that has never been consummated is invalid and can be annulled.

    The time limit to file for annulment is 4 years after the marriage in which period the couple is suppose to have tried every means to make their marriage work by curing this inability. However, after a certain period the aggrieved spouse is entitled to ask for an annulment which is generally granted in such cases.

  • Same-sex Marriage - The marriages between the couples of the same sex are prohibited by the state law of South Dakota and the couples engaging in such marriages are legally punishable according to the same law.

    Such a marriage is void ab initio given that it is a prohibited marriage and cannot be validated in any case. The court usually grants an annulment easily in such cases.

Annulment in South Dakota is a rare occurrence owing to the limited grounds and the difficulty in providing the substantial proof that support the claims and allegations.

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