On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, February 5, 2015.
When a couple is considering ending their marriage, divorce is generally the default method. However, Missouri law also has a procedure called an annulment, whereby the marriage can be invalidated. In a divorce, the marriage simply comes to an end. In an annulment, it is as if the marriage never took place. An annulment, therefore, has different requirements than a divorce. In order for a couple to annul a marriage, there must one of the following:
- one of the parties was underage at the time of the marriage
- some type of familial relationship between the two parties;
- lack of legal capacity; or
- the marriage was established under the common law prior to 1922.
Whereas bigamy is self-explanatory, several of the other grounds require a deeper examination. For instance, in Missouri an individual must be 18 or older to get married without the written consent of his or her parents.
It is possible for an individual to get married as young as 14 with parental consent under special circumstances. Also, legal capacity can be divided into mental incompetence, senility, or even impotence.
Lastly, some of the familial relationships that are prohibited include half or whole brother and sister, all types of first cousins, and any type of ancestral relationship including an aunt or an uncle.
In short, annulments are only appropriate in these very limited circumstances. Divorces are still the most common method of ending a marriage.
If you think you may meet any of these grounds for an annulment, it is worth speaking with an experienced family law attorney in the Saint Charles area.