Louisiana Annulment Statute

By Elizabeth Rayne

If a marriage does not meet the requirements of Louisiana law, the marriage may be null and void. With an annulment, it is essentially as if the marriage never existed. Divorce relief, such as alimony and child support, is only awarded if the couple actually and reasonably believed the marriage was valid.

Annulment Overview

Depending on the circumstances of the marriage, a marriage that took place in Louisiana may be declared null and void. The state law distinguishes between a marriage that is "absolutely null" from one that is "relatively null." Certain situations create an absolutely null marriage, meaning that neither spouse is required to take additional steps to void the marriage. For a relatively null marriage, the couple has the option to either void the marriage or confirm it, and the annulment will not take effect without help from the court.

Absolutely Null Marriage

Absolutely null marriages are automatically void, meaning that legally the marriage is treated as if it never existed. The couple may proceed as if they were never married, even without petitioning the court. The circumstances that lead to an absolutely null marriage include marriages that were formed without a ceremony, marriages between same sex partners and situations where one spouse was already married. If one person stood in for one of the spouses during the ceremony, known as procuration, the marriage is null and void. The state also prohibits marriages between family members, such as brother and sister, uncle and niece, etc. Although a judicial declaration is not necessary to void absolutely null marriages, a couple may still request the declaration to have it on public record.

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Relatively Null Marriages

A relatively null marriage occurs when one spouse does not freely give her consent to the marriage. For example, in an arranged marriage where one spouse was forced into the marriage and her consent was not freely given. The spouse who did not freely give consent may petition the court to have the marriage declared null. However, the spouse may also later confirm the marriage after she has the freedom and capacity to do so. For example, if the couple continues to live together after the couple is no longer being forced to do so, the marriage may be confirmed. Once a relatively null marriage is confirmed, the couple can no longer request an annulment.

Effect of Null Marriage

In some cases, the couple from a null marriage may still request the same relief as couples undergoing a traditional divorce, such as child support and property division. However, the court will rule in favor of the spouse who reasonably and in good faith believed the marriage was a valid and legal one. In cases of null marriages between people of the same sex, Louisiana law does not allow the couple to pursue any relief that is usually awarded to divorcing couples.

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Annulment vs. Divorce in the State of Illinois


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Basis for Annulment

Couples often mistakenly assume that an annulment is an easier, cheaper and quicker alternative to a divorce, but in fact, obtaining an annulment is generally more difficult. State laws allow annulment in only limited circumstances. Couples cannot get an annulment unless their situation fits one of their state's legal grounds, or bases, for annulment. The process and bases for annulment varies by state, but annulment generally is not based on the length of time the couple has been married.

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.

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 petition a county court for an annulment, state the grounds for the annulment, and prove that your particular circumstances qualify for an annulment under state law. If you are granted the annulment, the marriage is treated as legally invalid; in other words, as if it never existed. Divorce, on the other hand, terminates a legally valid marriage once the divorce decree is signed by the judge

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