Annulment is a path to marital dissolution, but it’s a very different animal than that of divorce. Where divorce ends a marriage that was entered into lawfully but no longer works, annulment rescinds the marriage because it asserts the marriage never existed. The annulment renders the marriage contract null and void.
Annulments are very rare. The grounds for prevailing in this suit are narrow. Historically, many people have often gone this route so that they could remarry within their faith which disallowed second marriages. For others, it could be to mitigate the stigma of divorce or to sidestep the burdensomeness of divorce.
Grounds for annulment in Michigan
In Michigan, the marriage will be annulled if it’s found to be contractually deficient, that is, entered into unlawfully, for any one of the following reasons:
- Fraud: If an individual has been tricked in some way and so induced to marry, then the ground of fraud obtains. For instance, if one spouse wants to have children and the other cannot and withheld that information, that would be fraud.
- Force: If a person is compelled by the threat of violence to marry, then they did not marry freely.
- Mental incapacity: If at the time of marriage one of the spouses was very ill or incompetent to make sound decisions, then it’s determined they could not have freely and responsibly given consent.
- Physical incapacity: If the marriage cannot be consummated, and the person seeking the annulment had no reason to believe this was the case at the time of marriage, the marriage can be annulled.
- Underage: If the marriage was entered into underage and without parental consent, the marriage can be annulled.
- Bigamy: If one spouse discovers that the other spouse was a married person at the time of marriage, then the marriage is null and void.
- Bloodlines: If the spouses discover they have a closer kinship relationship than first cousin or step-first cousin, the marriage can be annulled.
Contemplating marital dissolution is difficult no matter what path you choose. Consulting with an attorney experienced in this area of the law can help you evaluate your options and obtain the best outcome possible.