How to Get an Annulment in Virginia

By David Carnes

An annulment is different from a divorce -- a divorce legally ends a valid marriage, whereas an annulment declares the original marriage invalid. The grounds for annulment are strictly limited, and annulments are granted far less frequently than divorces. Virginia, like other states, applies its own annulment law, including a statute of limitations. If you find that you are ineligible for an annulment, you can still obtain a divorce in Virginia, as long as you meet residency requirements.

Step 1

Determine if you have grounds to have your marriage declared void. Your marriage can be declared void if it is incestuous, if one spouse was a minor at the time of the marriage and married without parental consent, if one spouse was under 16 on the date of the marriage, if one spouse was married to someone else on the date of the marriage, or if the marriage occurred in Virginia and both spouses were the same gender.

Step 2

Determine if you have grounds to have the marriage declared voidable. A marriage can be declared voidable if one spouse was coerced into the marriage; if one spouse was defrauded -- for example, by a foreign spouse who married to obtain immigration benefits; if one spouse was a convicted felon, impotent or a current or former prostitute on the wedding date without the knowledge of the other spouse; if one spouse was mentally incompetent to consent to marriage on the wedding date; if, without the husband's knowledge, the wife was pregnant with a child not fathered by the husband on the wedding date; and if the husband fathered a child with another woman who was born within 10 months of the wedding date.

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

Step 3

Check the date on your marriage certificate to determine if the statute of limitations has expired, if you are seeking annulment based on a voidable marriage. In Virginia, you must file for an annulment within two years of the date of a voidable marriage. The statute of limitations does not apply to void marriages.

Step 4

Gather all supporting evidence needed to establish grounds for annulment. You may need a copy of your spouse's criminal history, for example, to show that he is a convicted felon.

Step 5

Obtain Form VS-4 and a civil summons form from the clerk of the Civil Intake Division of the Virginia Circuit Court that sits in the county where at least one spouse has resided for at least six months.

Step 6

Prepare a Bill of Complaint. The Bill of Complaint should name and provide contact details for both you and your spouse, state the date and place of the marriage, state that you seek an annulment and state the grounds for annulment. It should also request any child support, alimony, child custody and property division terms that you desire. Sign your Bill of Complaint in the presence of a notary public. Prepare it in triplicate and keep one copy for your records.

Step 7

Complete Form VS-4 and the summons, and sign both documents in the presence of a notary public. Form VS-4 requires basic information for the purpose of compiling statistics, and the summons notifies your spouse of the annulment hearing.

Step 8

Submit Form VS-4 and two copies of the Bill of Complaint to the court clerk of the Virginia Circuit Court sitting in the county where at least one spouse has resided for at least six months. Filing fees vary by jurisdiction. The court will set a hearing date.

Step 9

Submit the summons to the sheriff's office with jurisdiction over your spouse's county of residence, if your spouse resides in Virginia. If your spouse is not a resident of Virginia, you must complete an affidavit stating that your spouse lives out of state and give his last known address, and sign it in the presence of a notary public. You must then deliver the Bill of Complaint, the summons and your affidavit to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The sheriff's office or the Secretary will notify the court when these documents have been served on your spouse.

Step 10

Attend the hearing, and bring all supporting evidence with you. If your spouse opposes the annulment, the judge may set a trial date at which you may call and cross-examine witnesses.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Get a Civil Annulment
 

References

Related articles

What Is the Law for Annulments in the State of Oregon?

If you are contemplating an annulment of your marriage, you should know that grounds for an annulment are limited in Oregon. Annulments are allowed only if the parties are incapable of entering into a marriage contract due to an insufficiency of legal age or understanding, or if the consent of either party was the result of fraud or force. You must be 18 — or 17 with parental consent — to legally marry in Oregon.

Do-it-Yourself Divorce in Louisiana

In Louisiana, you are entitled to represent yourself in a divorce proceeding, although doing so may be unwise if the divorce is contested or if the issues involved are complex. Louisiana offers both fault-based and no-fault divorce. Louisiana also offers a "covenant marriage," which restricts the available grounds for divorce. You can obtain the necessary forms along with aid filling them out from an online legal document preparation service.

How to File for an Annulment in Illinois

As with a dissolution of marriage -- the legal term for divorce in Illinois -- an annulment is a way to end your marriage. However, an annulment is only used to end an invalid marriage -- or one that should never have taken place. Annulments are rarely ever used in Illinois because it is difficult to prove grounds for annulment. In Illinois, as in other states, there are specific legal guidelines for annulments, which must take place within a strict time frame, depending on the circumstances.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Get an Annulment in Arizona

An annulment is the legal recognition by an Arizona court that a marriage is void. In Arizona, an annulment is granted ...

How to File for an Annulment of Marriage in CA

If you're seeking an annulment, California courts require that you follow specific procedures. A court grants an ...

How to Get an Annulment in Alabama

Unlike a divorce, while dissolves a marriage, an annulment makes it as though a couple was never married. Alabama law ...

What Is the Process for an Annulment in the State of New Hampshire?

The process of filing for an annulment in New Hampshire is similar to the process of filing for divorce. You'll need to ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED