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Does Virginia permit annulments?

UPDATED: March 3, 2020

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An annulment is different from a divorce because it erases the marriage, making it null and void. Basically, an annulment means the marriage was not valid from the beginning. Virginia does permit annulments. However, in order for a marriage to be annulled in Virginia, certain conditions must be met. Under these conditions, most married couples do not qualify for an annulment. 

How Do You Qualify for an Annulment in Virginia?

In order to qualify for annulments in Virginia, one of three conditions must be met:

  • There must have been a defect in the marriage.
  • The marriage must have involved fraud of some kind.
  • One of the parties must have withheld crucial information from the other party. 

Examples of Defects in the Marriage

For purposes of getting a Virginia annulment, a marriage is considered to have a defect if there was a serious error in the process. Examples of defects include:

  • The person officiating at the ceremony was not legally qualified.
  • Your marriage license was not valid.
  • One party was married to someone else at the time.
  • One or both parties was too young to be married legally.
  • One or both parties was mentally handicapped at the time of marriage.  

Fraud in the Marriage

Fraud is another reason for annulments in Virginia. If you are trying to prove fraud, you need to show that:

  • Your spouse misled you. 
  • The misrepresentation was intentional. 
  • You suffered damage.
  • You trusted your spouse fully. 

Withholding of Information 

The final reason for annulment in Virginia involves the withholding of pertinent information before the wedding. This information must be critical and significant, and disclosure of said information must cause the other party to be extremely upset. Some examples are:

  • Pregnancy outside of the marriage within ten months of the wedding date.
  • The fact that your husband is impotent.
  • A felony conviction.

Getting an Annulment in Virginia

If you believe you have grounds for annulment in Virginia based on these criteria, you should contact an attorney who specializes in family law for assistance with getting your marriage annulled.  

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