Grounds for Annulments
Annulment laws vary from state to state. The rules for statutes of limitation are especially complicated because they depend not only on state law, but also on the reason a party asks the court for an annulment. Depending on the circumstances, the appellant may have a very limited period of time to use this option or may have a lifetime, but only if the other spouse does not die. For example, the timeline for acting on voidable marriages in Colorado is only six months if a partner tricked a spouse into the marriage, but a year if the spouse is impotent. California permits four years in these circumstances, but a person has only two years in Ohio to file for annulment of a voidable marriage. If one spouse was not of sound mind at the time of the marriage, some states permit annulments until one spouse dies.
In most jurisdictions, an annulment requires that at least one of the following reasons exists:
Duress, bigamy, and fraud are the most common grounds for an annulment; the most common ground for annulment ab initio is bigamy, whereas the most common grounds for an annulment nun pro tunc are serious fraud or a partys legal incompetence at the time of the marriage.
Many annulments take place after marriages of a very short duration - a few weeks or months - so there are usually no assets or debts to divide, or children for whom custody, visitation, and child support are a concern. When a long-term marriage is annulled, however, most states have provisions for dividing property and debts, as well as determining custody, visitation, child support, and alimony. Any children of an annulled marriage are considered legitimate.
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