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Vermont Annulments
Annulments in Vermont

In Vermont, a marriage ends by death, divorce - or annulment. A divorce ends a valid marriage. An annulment means the court has decided that no valid marriage existed. Annulments in Vermont can only be done under very limited circumstances.

An order granting annulment means the parties were never legally married. However, the Vermont court can still decide the custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division.

Children of annulled marriages are still legitimate in Vermont; they have the same rights as children of legal marriages, including support and inheritance.

Vermont law on annulment is in the Vermont Statutes Annotated Title 15, Chapter 11.

Grounds
  • Underage means one spouse was under 16 at the time of marriage.
  • Unsound mind means one spouse was unable to consent because of insanity or other disability.
  • Impotence means one spouse is physically unable to have sexual intercourse.
  • Force means a spouse was coerced or threatened to marry.
  • Fraud means one spouse lied or hid information to convince the other spouse to marry.
  • Incest means the spouses are related.
  • Bigamy means one spouse has a living husband or wife from another marriage.

Some of these legal grounds have specific rules including:

  • In the case of an underage marriage, when one partner marries under the age of 16, but freely cohabits with the other one after turning 18, the marriage will not be annulled.
  • If a spouse was mentally or physically incapable of making a reasonable decision about the marriage, he or she was not able to give informed consent. Intoxication may be considered grounds for incapacity. A party must initiate filing for annulment on these grounds within two years.
  • In the case of insanity, if a spouse was insane at the time of the marriage but regained sanity and the spouses continued to live together thereafter, the marriage will not be annulled.
  • In the case of impotence, for a marriage to be annulled because one spouse is impotent, the other spouse must file for annulment within two years of the date of marriage.
  • In the case of physical threat or intimidation, an annulment action may be begun at any time.

Procedure

The plaintiff files a Complaint for Annulment in the superior court for the county where either partner lives. Either party must have lived in the county for at least six months. The complaint includes basic information about the parties - the spouses’ names, ages, addresses, the date and place of marriage. It also includes the grounds for annulment and the desired relief in issues that include child custody, child support, visitation, alimony, and property division.

The defendant must receive a copy of the complaint.

After the defendant has been served with the complaint, the court schedules a hearing in court where the plaintiff proves the annulment. This may include evidence to support the grounds. Witnesses who can support the argument may testify, too. The statements of the plaintiff are not considered sufficient proof. If the judge believes the case, he or she grants the annulment.

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