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Kentucky Annulments
Annulments in Kentucky

Both divorce and annulment end a marriage, but there are differences between them. Both require court proceedings, but after an annulment in Kentucky, legally the marriage simply never took place; it is retroactively voided. Divorce, on the other hand, recognizes that a marriage did exist but is now being terminated.

An annulment in Kentucky is granted only under specific circumstances. A party who does not qualify for an annulment may seek a no-fault divorce, which may be simpler and easier than an annulment, especially if the partners can agree about property division.

The full text of the law on annulment in Kentucky is in the Kentucky Revised Statutes, Title XXXV, Chapters 402-403.

While divorce is often used for marriages of long or short durations, annulment Kentucky is almost always used for marriages that have not lasted long.


Grounds for annulment of marriage in Kentucky include:

  • The marriage only took place because one party was forced to marry or defrauded into marrying.
  • The marriage is incestuous. In other words, the couple is more closely related than second cousins, which Kentucky considers incest.
  • Mental disability in one of the spouses.
  • Bigamy. Bigamy means a second marriage before the first is over. If one party has a living husband or wife and has not completed a divorce, the second marriage is bigamous and a spouse has grounds for annulment. Even if the party to the marriage is separated or has been separated for some time, a marriage is still considered bigamous unless a divorce has been granted.
  • In some cases, marriages of minors may also be eligible for annulment. This can happen if there was no cohabitation once the minor reached the age of majority.
  • One spouse misrepresented something essential to the marriage.
  • One spouse was incapable of sexual intercourse.
  • Courts may also grant annulments for any other reason that a judge believes justifies setting aside the marriage

Some grounds for annulment have additional conditions, including:

  • Consent: One spouse is unable to consent to the marriage. A spouse is unable to consent to marriage if he or she cannot understand what marriage means. Mental disability can be a reason, but the disability must be severe. A person who is intoxicated may also be unable to consent to a marriage. Consent annulments require very convincing evidence that a spouse could not consent to the marriage.
  • Fraud: Fraud must be significant to annul a marriage, and “essential to the marriage.” For example, in Kentucky, courts have annulled marriages based on a wife lying about being pregnant to convince a man to marry. On the other hand, courts have refused to annul a marriage when a wife did not tell her husband that she had an illegitimate child.
  • Underage : One spouse was underage at the time of the marriage (under 18). If one party is under 18 when he or she married, but continues to live with the other spouse after reaching 18, the marriage can no longer be annulled.

Kentucky has a statute of limitations that applies to annulments. In the case of force, duress or fraud, the victim partner must file for an annulment within 90 days of finding out about the reason for the annulment. In the case of incest, bigamy or mental disability, he or she must file for annulment within a year of discovering this ground for the annulment.


In order to get an annulment of marriage in Kentucky, a party needs to file a petition for annulment, which is the legal paperwork for an order of annulment.

The filing spouse is called the petitioner; the other spouse is the respondent. The petitioner files in the circuit court for the county where either spouse lives. The petition for annulment must include both spouses’ names, addresses, dates of birth, occupation and how long each spouse has lived in Kentucky, the date of the marriage, whether any children were born from the marriage, and the legal ground supporting the annulment.

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