An annulment in Alabama is a legal procedure done in order to render a marriage void. The two common types of annulments are civil and religious. Many religions view annulments favorably while seeing divorce as a dishonor. However, a religious annulment does not terminate a legal marriage in the eyes of the law and religious annulments do not have the same rigid guidelines as civil annulments. While it may seem the better option to completely nullify a marriage versus acknowledging the marriage and ending it, there are strict rules for getting an annulment in Alabama. Our family law attorneys can help you with your annulment and advise you whether it is the best option or if a divorce would be a better option.
Many people have a few common misconceptions about annulments. The most common misconception about annulments in Alabama is directly related to length of marriage. There is no length of time one must be married in order to get an annulment or a divorce. Many people believe that a short marriage may be annulled simply because of the length of the marriage. For example, someone getting married in Las Vegas and waking up the next week and getting a divorce when they get home. This is not true. There are actually only a few situations in which one could have our Birmingham divorce attorney file for an annulment instead of a divorce in Alabama. In addition, some of these reasons are easier to prove than others.
This means that some of these reasons can be proven by signing testimony and filing it, with possibly no hearings. In other words it can be done similarly to an uncontested divorce. Other reasons might need testimony in person and the judge might not grant the annulment in Alabama based on just written testimony. For this reason, the costs for an annulment can vary depending on the reason for doing so.
Reasons for Annulment in Alabama
There are only a few valid reasons to file for an annulment in Alabama. These reasons include:
Bigamy: if someone entered a marriage while already married. A person can only be legally married to one person at a time.
Underage marriage: if one party of the marriage is under sixteen years old, this party may file for an annulment before they turn eighteen, as children do not have the capability to consent to marriage.
Incest: if a marriage occurs between two close family members.
Intoxication at the time of marriage: if one or both parties is too intoxicated to consent to marriage.
Mental incapacitation: if one party of the marriage is mentally incapable of understanding what it means to consent to marriage. However, this could be an example where hearings are necessary since some independent third party might have to be appointed to determine if there is mental incapacity or not.
Inability to consummate the marriage: if either party is permanently impotent or is unable to consummate the marriage. In this instance, the judge might not take someone’s word for it and might require medical evidence.
Being forced into the marriage: if someone in any way forces or tricks another person into a marriage.
Being tricked into marriage: if someone hides a life-altering piece of information about themselves, such as them having a secret child, felony record, or drug addiction.
Annulment versus Divorce
If none of the above reasons apply, it is unlikely a person will be granted an annulment in Alabama. More likely, their divorce lawyer will have to file an uncontested divorce in Alabama and not an uncontested annulment.
There is one major difference in an annulment and a divorce: an annulment actually voids your marriage, while a divorce just ends it. If a person were to select their marital status on a form after a divorce, they would check “divorced;” if the marriage was annulled, the person would check “single/never married.” In other words, an annulment does nullify the marriage in the eyes of the law.
As strict as the rules are for reasons to annul a marriage, they are lax on reasons to end a marriage through divorce. Even if an annulment in Alabama is not an option for a specific situation, a person can always file for divorce in order to end a marriage. If you need to know whether to file an annulment or a divorce, then give us a call for a quick phone consultation and let us help.