Annulment is a legal procedure which declares a marriage null and void. It is retroactive unlike divorce, meaning that if a marriage is declared annulment it is considered to be invalid from the very beginning as if the marriage had never taken place. However, some jurisdictions claim that the marriage only becomes void since the date of the annulment.
Void Marriage And Voidable Marriage
There is a difference between void marriage and voidable marriage. A void marriage is a marriage which has no legal; recognition that is it was not legally considered in the first place. In order to consider the marriage as null, one must need a declaration of nullity to make it official. The same procedure as the one practiced to get an annulment has to be implemented to get the declaration of nullity. Furthermore, children born before an annulment process are considered as legitimate in many countries. In order to declare a marriage annulment, the reasons would be depending on the jurisdiction, the reasons may include incestual marriage, consanguinity, bigamy, group marriage, child marriage etc.
On the other hand, a voidable marriage is a valid marriage but can be canceled if it is opposed in court by one of the parties to the marriage. The validity of the marriage can only be made by one of the members to the marriage, which means that the marriage cannot be annulled after the death of one of the member. Again, the factors which term a marriage voidable heavily depends on what the jurisdiction decides, it may include forced marriages, and in countries where marriage law is influenced by religion especially Roman Catholicism, there are many reasons why a marriage can be considered voidable.
Church Of England
The Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, had the right to grant annulments, since the divorce procedures were only available through an Act of Parliament. England and Wales provides for both void and voidable marriages. In order to opt for a void marriage the following is to be a part of the marriage:
- Spouses are closely related to each other,
- One of the partner was under 16,
- One of the spouses was already in a relationship of married.
Whereas, voidable marriage includes the following pointer:
- Forced marriage
- One of the spouse had a sexually transmitted disease at the time of marriage
- The woman was pregnant by another man at the time of marriage.
Marriages have become less common in the Western world, since people now prefer cohabitation as an alternative.