Annulment

Divorce and Family Law

What Is An Annulment Of Marriage In Ohio?


AN ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE is a legal process for retroactively declaring that a marriage is invalid. This means that the marriage is void from the beginning because of some defect existing at the time of the marriage. Without a valid marriage, the parties need not divorce or litigate issues arising from the divorce.

Differences Between Divorce And Annulment In Ohio

A DIVORCE IS a way to terminate a valid marriage and handle all issues arising from the marriage including property distribution, debt allocation, support and child related matters. The termination of the divorce is generally the date of the issuance of the final decree, though a different defacto date may be determined. The grounds leading to the divorce are issues that arise after the date of the marriage.

AN ANNULMENT IS a way to terminate an invalid marriage. Since the marriage was never valid there is no actual termination date. The court will merely declare that no marriage ever existed. Since the parties were never married, marital issues generally need not be determined. The grounds leading to the annulment existed prior, or at the time, of the marriage.

What Are The Grounds For Annulment In Ohio?

AN OHIO ANNULMENT may be granted for six different reasons as follows:

  • Underage: If a person seeking to obtain an annulment was under the allowable age to marry in Ohio (males=18 and females=16 with parental consent)at the time of the marriage, unless after reaching the appropriate age the parties continued to live together as husband and wife.
  • Preexisting Marriage:If a person is already married to a living spouse at the time of the marriage sought to be annulled.
  • Mentally Incompetent:If a spouse is legally declared mentally incompetent, unless the spouse is restored to competency and lived together as husband and wife thereafter.
  • Fraud: If the consent to marry was obtained by fraud, unless the parties continued to live together as husband and wife once the full knowledge of the fraud was discovered.
  • Duress/Force: If the consent to marry was obtained by force or threat of force, unless the parties continued to live together as husband and wife after the threat of force was no longer present.
  • Consummation: If the marriage between the parties was never consummated, in that the husband and wife never engaged in sexual intercourse.

When To File For Annulment In Ohio?

WHEN TO FILE FOR AN ANNULMENT in Ohio varies based on the grounds for which you are filing the case. The statutorily required time frames for each of the six grounds are listed below:

  • Underage: A parent or guardian may file the action anytime that their child is a minor. For the parties of the marriage, the annulment action must be filed within 2 years of reaching the age of majority.
  • Preexisting Marriage: Either spouse may file the annulment, but it must be filed while the preexisting spouse is still alive.
  • Mentally Incompetent: The party that is aggrieved by the mentally incompetent spouse or a relative of the mentally incompetent spouse may file the action for annulment at any time prior to the death of either spouse.
  • Fraud: The spouse that is victim to the fraud may file for the annulment within two years after the discovery of the facts constituting the fraud.
  • Duress/Force: The spouse that is victim to the duress may file for the annulment within two years from the date of the marriage.
  • Consummation: The spouse that is aggrieved from the lack of consummation can file for the annulment within two years from the date of the marriage.