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Annulments and Void Marriages in New York
This article is a brief overview of the law in New York concerning invalid marriages. As with any court proceeding a matrimonial attorney should always be consulted. This article is not intended to be any form of legal advice and is not to be relied upon as such.
There are some marriages that are entered into in New York that are void from their inception, that is, they are not recognized as a valid marriage and can never ripen into a valid marriage regardless of their length. These marriages are called void marriages.
Marriages entered into between two parties that are related within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity are void. Section 5 of the Domestic Relations Law provides that marriages are void if entered into between (1) an ancestor and descendant; brothers and sisters of the whole or half blood; an uncle and a niece or an aunt and a nephew. These marriages are called incestuous. You will notice that, contrary to popular belief, there is no prohibition against marriages between cousins.
Section 6 of the Domestic Relations Law provides that a marriage is absolutely void if contracted by a person whose husband or wife by a former marriage is still living unless such marriage has been annulled or dissolved. These marriages are called bigamous.
To officially terminate these marriage one commences an action entitled "Action To Declare The Nullity of a Void Marriage".
Marriages that are void from the time its nullity is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction are called voidable marriages and it is these marriages that can be annulled.
Section 7 of the Domestic Relations Law provides: if either party thereto:
The procedure to either declare the nullity of a void marriage or to annul a marriage can be found in Section 140 to 146 Domestic Relations Law. The procedure must be strictly followed.
The filing spouse must file and serve a verified complaint stating grounds for the divorce. In addition to the verified complaint there are other documents that must be filed including Affidavits and a Marital Settlement Agreement setting out division of property, spousal and child support.
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