Most Virginians know that one way to end a marriage is through a divorce. After all, even if they have not gone through a divorce themselves, it is likely that they know someone who has. However, there is another way to end a marriage in Virginia: through annulment.
It is important to understand the difference between an annulment and a divorce. In a divorce, the court is recognizing that a marriage legally existed, and through divorce, that marriage has now legally ended. Annulment, on the other hand, makes it so that the marriage is void or voidable. This means the marriage never legally existed at all. Some people may want to seek an annulment over a divorce for religious purposes or for other very personal reasons.
In Virginia, a marriage can be annulled if it was entered into upon fraud or duress. Impotency existing when the couple was married, which the spouse seeking the annulment was not aware of is another reason to annul a marriage. A marriage may be annulled if one party was convicted of a felony, which the other party was not aware of. In addition, a marriage may be annulled if, at the time of the marriage, the wife was pregnant with another man’s child, which the husband was not aware of. Similarly, a marriage in Virginia can be annulled if the husband had fathered a child that was born to another woman within the first 10 months of the parties’ marriage. Finally, a marriage can be annulled if either spouse had been a prostitute, the fact to which the other spouse did not know about.
Keep in mind that if a couple continued to cohabitate together, despite knowing of the facts that otherwise could be grounds for an annulment, then annulment is no longer an option. In addition, if a couple has been married for two years or more before seeking annulment, annulment will no longer be an option for them.
This is only a very general overview of annulments in Virginia. The fact is that it is more likely that a marriage will end in divorce, rather than annulment. However, it is important for Virginians seeking to end their marriages to be aware of all their options, so they can choose the one most appropriate to them.