An annulment is similar to a divorce, in that it effectively ends a marriage. The difference, however, is an annulment treats the marriage as if it never happened.
Grounds for annulment will vary from state to state, but they may generally be obtained for one of the following reasons:
- Misrepresentation or Fraud – a spouse lied about their ability to have children, that s/he has reached the age of consent (18 years old) or that s/he is not still legally married to someone else.
- Concealment – hiding an addiction to alcohol or drugs, conviction of a felony, any children from a previous relationship, a sexually transmitted disease or impotency.
- Refusal or Inability to Consummate the Marriage – refusal or inability of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with the other spouse.
Spouses mainly seek annulments for a marriage of only a few weeks or months. With such a short marriage, there will usually be no assets or debts to divide, or child custody, visitation or financial support to be concerned about. When it is a long-term marriage being annulled, most states have measures for dividing any property and debts, as well as determining child custody, visitation and support.