Tennessee Laws on Annulments

By Jim Thomas

Both a divorce and an annulment result in the dissolution of a marriage in Tennessee, but an annulment is a very specific form of terminating a marriage. You can have a marriage annulled in Tennessee if you prove the marriage is void or voidable, meaning the marriage is either against public policy or one of the spouses is a "victim" tricked into the marriage.

Both a divorce and an annulment result in the dissolution of a marriage in Tennessee, but an annulment is a very specific form of terminating a marriage. You can have a marriage annulled in Tennessee if you prove the marriage is void or voidable, meaning the marriage is either against public policy or one of the spouses is a "victim" tricked into the marriage.

Annulment Vs. Divorce

A divorce severs marital ties between two parties. Divorces in Tennessee are either no-fault or fault-based. A no-fault divorce can be obtained on the grounds of irreconcilable differences or when the parties have lived separately for two years and don't have minor children. There is a long list of fault grounds for divorce, including impotence, imprisonment for a felony, alcohol or drug addiction, bigamy, cruel and inhumane treatment, abandonment or making life "intolerable." An annulment not only dissolves the marriage, it treats the marriage as if never existed.

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Void Marriage Annulment

In general, a marriage is void for three reasons in Tennessee. If a spouse is homosexual, the marriage may be annulled. An incestuous marriage also may be voided -- in Tennessee, you can't marry close biological relatives, such as parents, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. In addition, you can't marry your adoptive parents, adopted children or half brothers and sisters. Public policy requires that you can't get married if you are already married to another person as bigamous marriages are illegal.

Voidable Marriage Annulment

If a party to a marriage is considered a victim, she can ask the court for an annulment based on the theory she did not properly consent to the marriage. If it turns out your spouse is incurably insane, forced you to marry him or committed fraud by misrepresenting himself, the marriage may be deemed voidable by a Tennessee court and annulled. Other grounds include marrying someone who is underage without the consent of the minor's parents or a court.

Consideratons

In Tennessee, you can request the custody of your children if your marriage is annulled, but not alimony. However, if there are legal grounds for divorce that are also legal grounds for annulment -- impotence and bigamy are two examples -- you can file for divorce in order to obtain alimony and an equitable split of the marital property. On the other hand, an annulment requires the court to restore property to the parties who owned it prior to the voidable marriage. Although annulments in the past resulted in children from a void marriage becoming bastards in the eyes of the law, more enlightened statutes in both Tennessee and elsewhere now treat the children as legitimate.

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Requirements for an Annulment in Massachusetts

References

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Annulment Requirements

Divorce constitutes an end to a marriage, while an annulment deems a marriage never existed. Over time, however, the lines between divorce and annulment have blurred as some states address property division issues in annulment cases even though the union legally never existed. Although a no-fault divorce may be allowed in some states, the grounds or requirements for an annulment are strictly defined and may vary from state to state.

The Limitations for Getting an Annulment

Very few couples can annul their marriages -- it's usually much simpler to divorce instead. In most states, annulment is confined to very specific grounds and deadlines – and you can't get an annulment simply because you were married for only a short period of time unless other factors exist. An annulment voids your marriage as if it never existed, and this sometimes imposes additional limitations.

Annulment Requirements for Florida

In Florida, a marriage may be terminated by divorce or annulment. An annulment is basically a decree that a marriage is void, or that a legal marriage never actually took place. To annul your marriage, you need to meet certain specific criteria recognized by Florida courts. However, Florida courts will also recognize a request for an annulment if you and your spouse never lived together as husband and wife or consummated your marriage.

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