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Missouri Annulments
Annulments in Missouri

Annulment is a civil court process that declares a marriage never existed and, in Missouri, is very rare.

Annulments are described in the Missouri Code 451.020, 030; 451.022.

The most essential part of a marriage is the assent. Missouri annulment laws state that both the parties must marry with mutual assent. Otherwise the marriage is not valid.

Grounds

Here are the grounds for an annulment in Missouri:

  • Bigamy, which means one spouse was already married to another living partner at the time of the second (or subsequent) marriage. One person cannot be married to two people at the same time. A person who does not know his or her spouse is married at the time of the marriage may file for annulment. A bigamous marriage is void.
  • Under age, which means one or both spouses are under age 18 at time of marriage, and do not have written consent of their parents or permission of court.
  • Kinship, which means a marriage is invalid if it is between any of the following relationships: a parent and child; a grandparent and grandchild of any degree; a brother and sister; an aunt and nephew or uncle and niece; or first cousins.
  • Lack of capacity, which includes mental incompetence, senility or insanity of one or both spouses as well as physical incapacity or impotence. In the case of impotence, the court may find the marriage invalid if the impotence existed at the time of marriage but was unknown, and is permanent.
  • Common Law Marriages entered after 1921 are void, unless entered into in a state that recognizes them.
  • Missouri state laws do not recognize same-sex marriages. Such marriages can also be annulled under the Missouri annulment laws.
  • Duress or fraud, which means that at the time of the marriage a spouse is unable to make a valid marital contract and therefore the marriage is invalid. If one of the vital elements of the marriage contract was concealed or misrepresented, the marriage may be invalid due to fraud. A fraudulent marriage can be made valid if a spouse discovers the fraud after the marriage but continues to live with the other. In duress one spouse is compelled to get married under violence or threat. A forced marriage can be annulled.

When a judge grants an annulment, the effect is that the marriage never existed and the couple was never married. This is different from divorce, where a marriage exists but is then ended by a court order.

Alimony/spousal maintenance is not available when a marriage is annulled.

Children of annulled marriage are considered legitimate children of the marriage if born during the marriage or within 300 days after the date of annulment. Parents may be ordered to pay child support and the children of the marriage may inherit even though the marriage has been annulled. The courts may also make orders regarding custody of the children.

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