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Ohio Annulments
Annulments in Ohio

To obtain an annulment in Ohio, a marriage must be found to be void or voidable.

Void marriages are invalid immediately and do not require a court order to be annulled; a voidable marriage requires a trial and hearing to prove the grounds for annulment.

Children born to an annulled marriage remains legitimate. Moreover, an annulment does nothing to affect custody or child support and instead establishes a presumption of paternity.

Ohio law on annulments is spelled out in Ohio Statutes 3105.31 et seq. and 3111.01 et seq.


Void marriages are prohibited by law and are not legal. Continued cohabitation cannot make the marriage valid. Void marriages include:

  • Incest, which is a marriage to a first cousin or closer relative;
  • Bigamy or polygamy, which is marriage to a second partner while the first still lives and the prior marriage has not ended. A complaint may be brought “by either party during the life of the other or by such former husband or wife.”

Voidable marriages are those that are valid but can be declared void under certain circumstances. Specifically, grounds for voidable marriages can be waived by cohabitation after the condition is discovered or remedied. Voidable marriages and limitations include:

  • Underage; One or both spouses were under the age of consent at the time of the marriage. An annulment on grounds of underage must be brought within two years from when the minority spouse reaches the age of consent, which is 18. If the spouses continue to freely cohabit when both are of age, the claim is waived. If a party was 16 when entering a marriage, the annulment of marriage in Ohio must be completed before he or she is 18 years old.
  • Unconsummated marriage; The claim must be filed by “the party aggrieved within two years from the date of the marriage.”
  • Mental incapacity; A spouse was unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incapacity or incompetence. The claim may be brought by “the party aggrieved or a relative or guardian of the party adjudicated mentally incompetent at any time before the death of either party.”
  • Fraud; Consent was obtained by force or fraud. A fraud claim can be waived if the spouses continue to live together after discovering it, particularly, if the victim spouse discovers the fraud but does not immediately separate from the offending spouse. In such an instance, the innocent spouse has confirmed the marriage, which typically prevents an annulment.


An annulment requires paperwork to be filed with the court and a hearing with evidence including documents and/or witnesses that support the claim for annulment.

To get an annulment, the petitioner files a complaint for an annulment and other paperwork in the county court. In the complaint, the petitioner provides basic information about the parties, their marriage, their children, and the reason for the annulment. The paperwork is filed with the clerk of the court and appropriate fees are paid. After filing, a person other than the petitioner usually delivers the annulment to the respondent. The paperwork can also be mailed. Usually, the judge holds a hearing to determine whether an annulment is proper. The parties testify under oath and present other evidence to help the court make a determination.

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