Missouri Annulment Information

By Mary Jane Freeman

An annulment in Missouri is known as a "declaration of invalidity of marriage." Despite Missouri's unique description, the grounds for annulment in the state are similar to those found in others, ranging from bigamy and incest to fraud and concealment. If annulment is granted, the marriage is treated as if it never happened. But annulments don't come easy; the party seeking it must prove the required circumstances exist -- speculation is not enough.

An annulment in Missouri is known as a "declaration of invalidity of marriage." Despite Missouri's unique description, the grounds for annulment in the state are similar to those found in others, ranging from bigamy and incest to fraud and concealment. If annulment is granted, the marriage is treated as if it never happened. But annulments don't come easy; the party seeking it must prove the required circumstances exist -- speculation is not enough.

Void Vs. Voidable

Marriages that qualify for annulment are either void or voidable. A void marriage is one that is invalid at its inception, meaning it is automatically illegal and incapable of being recognized under the law. In Missouri, a bigamous marriage is considered to be void. This is when a person enters into one marriage before legally dissolving a prior one. Missouri law also considers incestuous marriages void, as well as those involving a person who lacked the mental capacity to consent, for example, due to unconsciousness, insanity or intoxication.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Age

Missouri courts will only grant an annulment if there is evidence that the marriage is void or voidable. To this end, certain grounds are easier to prove than others. A common example are the grounds related to age. In Missouri, marriages involving a minor younger than 15 years of age are voidable. To receive an annulment based on age, a party must prove that -- at the time of the marriage -- the minor was younger than 15 and court approval was not given. For marriages involving minors 15 or older, but younger than 18, the court will grant an annulment if parental consent was not given at the time of the marriage. However, if the minor remains married after turning 18, the court is less likely to grant an annulment.

Misrepresentation, Concealment and Consummation

In Missouri, the court may also grant an annulment on the grounds of misrepresentation, concealment or an inability or refusal to consummate the marriage, but these may be more difficult to prove. To receive an annulment based on misrepresentation or fraud, the requesting spouse must prove the other party lied about a matter essential to the marital relationship, such as the ability to conceive. Concealment is very similar to fraud; it involves hiding a fact that, if known, would have caused the requesting spouse not to enter into the marriage. For example, the failure to disclose having a venereal disease or terminal cancer could be grounds for an annulment. Also, if a spouse is unable or refuses to have sexual relations, this is grounds for annulment.

Additional Considerations

Even if grounds for annulment exist, Missouri courts almost never grant them when a child has been born to the marriage. When annulment is not possible, due to the presence of children or other reasons, divorce is the only option available to terminate these relationships. When an annulment is granted, the marriage is treated as if it never happened -- everything each party acquired during the marriage, including earnings from employment, remain each one's separate property. This can have severe financial implications for one or both parties, especially after a long-term relationship. In contrast, if the marriage is terminated by divorce, property and earnings acquired during the marriage are considered joint property, to be split between the spouses once the divorce is final.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Is Colorado's Annulment Law?

References

Related articles

What Is the Time Limit for Getting an Annulment in the State of Nevada?

Nevada allows couples to annul a marriage in a limited number of cases. Because of the wide availability of divorce, state law strictly limits the grounds for which an annulment may be sought. In addition, while there is typically no time limit for bringing the action, an exception applies to marriages based on age of consent, which must be brought within one year after the minor child reaches 18.

Reasons an Annulment Will Be Approved

Annulment isn't a quick and easy fix to a bad marriage, although it's sometimes rumored to be. Much like fault-based divorces, you must prove certain grounds to the court before it will grant your request. These are legally acceptable reasons why your marriage can't or shouldn't continue. With all states now recognizing no-fault divorces -- where you don't have to prove wrongdoing on the part of your spouse -- getting the court to grant you an annulment is usually the more difficult process.

What Are the Laws About Annulled Marriages in Arkansas?

Annulling a marriage is a legal process that dissolves a marriage and results in a declaration that the marriage never existed. This differs from a divorce, because a divorce simply terminates a marriage, whereas annulment invalidates it. Family law is a topic governed by state law and Arkansas has established requirements for couples to get married, as well as processes and requirements to end those marriages.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Maryland's Annulment Laws

An annulment is an alternative to divorce and available in very limited circumstances. In Maryland, the grounds for ...

Conditions for Marriage Annulment in North Carolina

North Carolina, like most states, allows parties to obtain an annulment rather than a divorce. Qualifying for an ...

Annulment Requirements

Divorce constitutes an end to a marriage, while an annulment deems a marriage never existed. Over time, however, the ...

Annulment vs. Divorce in the State of Illinois

Couples who choose to end their marriages do so for a number of reasons. In Illinois, as in other states, spouses have ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED