Annulment in Virginia

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Annulment in Virginia erases the marriage as if it never existed and declares it to be null and void. The annulment in Virginia is also known as the "Decree of Nullity" and it is a rare occurrence in the state of Virginia due to the complexity of the annulment laws in Virginia.

Conditions for the Eligibility to get an Annulment in Virginia:

There are specific conditions which need to be met in order to be eligible to get an annulment in Virginia. These conditions are divided in three categories. These categories are as follows:

  1. Defective Marriage - A defective marriage is a marriage which has a defect which makes it invalid and thus, null since its inception. These defects are with some crucial things for a marriage to sail smoothly.

  2. Fraudulent Behavior - There has been some kind of fraudulent behavior on part of at least one of the spouses which affects the basic element of the marriage i.e. the trust between the spouses.

  3. Concealment of Crucial Information - Hiding any important information from one's spouse which is vital for the normal functioning of the marriage constitutes concealment and dishonesty on the part of the spouse.

Grounds for Annulment in Virginia:

The grounds for annulment in Virginia have been divided under the three categories mentioned above. Let's have a detailed look at these grounds according to their categories:

  1. Defective Marriage - There are certain conditions or grounds that come under this category. They are as follows:
    • If the marriage ceremony was conducted by an Unordained Officiant, the marriage is considered as invalid ans the person does not have the authority the conduct the marriage ceremony.
    • Same-sex Marriage is prohibited by the state law and is hence invalid, null and void right from the start.
    • Invalid Marriage License issued by the concerned department without checking the details provided by the parties wishing to get married.
    • A marriage between the relatives (half or full blood or by marriage) is considered as an Incestuous Marriage which is prohibited and thus void ab initio.
    • If a person is Mentally Incompetent and unable to make important decisions such as getting married and is out of his / her mind regarding these decisions, the marriage becomes voidable as the consent is clouded with suspicion.
    • A marriage entered while being already married to a surviving spouse is termed as a Bigamous Marriage which is illegal and thus void ab initio.
    • Marriage before the legal marriageable age is termed as an Underage Marriage and is null and void because of the age restriction in the state of Virginia.

  2. Fraudulent Behavior - The grounds that come under this category are related to the lies and fraudulent behavior on the part of the spouse which seriously damages the marital relationship. These are as follows:
    • Providing Misleading Information regarding the income, social status, identity while getting married. This constitutes lies and fraud.
    • Prostitution either before or after the marriage without the knowledge of the married spouse either by husband or by wife is a serious blow to a marital relationship and illegal by law.
    • Intentional Misrepresentation regarding the sexual preference, gender or the pregnancy which determine the functioning of a marital bond seriously undermines the relation between a husband and a wife and the marriage can be annulled on the grounds of fraud.
    • The wronged spouse Suffered Damage, both physical, social as well as emotional due to the lies and fraud by the other spouse and can file the petition for annulment according to the statute of Virginia.

  3. Concealment of Crucial Information - There are certain things crucial for a marriage to sail smooth. In some cases, these things are compromised upon and hidden from the married spouse. The grounds that come under this category are as follows:
    • Pregnancy outside marriage within 10 months of marriage and the married spouse is not the father or the mother. For instance, the wife has an affair and gets pregnant but the husband is not the father or a husband has an affair and the other woman gets pregnant (naturally the wife is not the mother!).
    • Sexual Grounds such as impotency, sterility, hidden sexual preference, previous sex-change operation or other sexual reasons which create a difficulty in the consummation of marriage or inability of a spouse to satisfy the sexual desires of the other spouse.
    • Conviction of Felony and Imprisonment due to the fraud or other reasons enough for a person to be imprisoned.
    • Incarceration into an asylum due to mental illness or bouts of insanity which render the person unreasonable or violent and endangers the well-being of the other partner and the family.

Defenses to Annulment in Virginia:

There are few defenses that are provided by the statute of Virginia. These are as follows:

  • If the duration or the time limit to apply for annulment (2 years after the marriage was officiated) has expired.
  • The voidable marriage is ratified by consummation of the marriage.
  • Any prior judicial documents regarding the property or any other lawsuit which proves that the couple was married.

These reasons can be used as a defense for the petition of annulment (if applicable).

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