Annulment of marriage is the legal process to declare that a true marriage never took place. This is different to a divorce which dissolves an existing marriage.
Some religions make no provision for divorce, and in these cases religious annulments may be granted when marriages fail. The grounds for religious annulments are different to those of English law.
Some marriages can be void altogether if, for example, one party was already married. After a couple is married certain facts may subsequently emerge to qualify the marriage as voidable. One reason could be a wilful refusal to consummate the marriage, that is, have sexual intercourse.
Invalid consent is also grounds for annulment if it is found that one party consented to the marriage under duress or unsoundness of mind. Forced marriages are both illegal and voidable and can therefore also be annulled.
The courts do not allow annulments where a divorce is applicable. Annulment is more complicated and costly than divorce and sound legal advice is recommended to anyone considering this option.
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