On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, July 30, 2015.
For the majority of cases in Missouri, the end of a marriage means a divorce. But in very few cases, a divorce is not necessary. In these instances, couples may be able to file for annulment. In this process, the courts deem the marriage to essentially have never happened. Missouri law has very stringent laws regarding these types of separation, and specific criteria must be met to qualify.
In general, there are three different reasons a marriage may be annulled. If it is against the law (typically due to bigamy), have been fraudulent/in bad faith or if one partner lacks capacity, the Missouri courts may grant the annulment. Each of these different reasons has many different facets involved.
Bigamy means at least one party is already married at the time of the marriage in question. Most people do not willingly make this mistake. Instead, an error of paperwork or a divorce not being complete is often the cause of bigamy. Regardless of the reason, bigamy can lead to an annulment. Another reason courts may wipe away a marriage is if one or both parties are underage and do not have parental consent.
Marriage between any kind of family relation closer than first cousins is also grounds for an annulment. If one or both parties is incapable of making the decision to get married, or is impotent, the court could be wiped away. Finally, if the one party was coerced or otherwise subject to fraud, the marriage could be deemed void. It should also be noted that marriage by common law is not recognized in Missouri.
If any of these situations apply to you, you may be able to get an annulment. A family law attorney may be able to give you more information and legal advice.