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

By Jim Thomas

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

Annulment vs. Divorce

Just as in a divorce proceeding, you must file the appropriate dissolution paperwork with the Superior Court in your county and serve notice on the party from whom you're seeking an annulment. It is much harder to obtain an annulment than a divorce, especially a no-fault divorce -- the burden of proof is more stringent. Still, there are reasons why you might prefer an annulment. If you married outside your faith, an annulment might restore you to the good graces of your church. If you were tricked into marriage due to fraud or forced to marry under duress, you might want to remove all legal traces of the union. You also might feel that a divorce still carries a stigma, even though roughly half of all new marriages in America end in divorce, as of 2013.

Void Marriage

A void marriage is one that was invalid at its inception. For example, if spouses-to-be are close relatives or one of the parties was underage at the time of the ceremony, the union was void from the start. Bigamy is another example of when a marriage is considered void -- you can only have one spouse at a time. You actually don't have to ask a court for an annulment in the case of a void marriage, since it never was legally valid. However, if there is doubt over the validity of a marriage that might be void, a party can ask for a judicial determination under Section 458 of New Hampshire's Revised Statutes.

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Voidable Marriage

Sometimes, otherwise legitimate marriages become voidable; thus, qualify for an annulment. The insanity of one party at the time of the wedding can render a marriage voidable and qualify for an annulment. Fraud by one spouse is also grounds for an annulment, if it goes to the heart of the marriage. For example, fraudulently getting someone to marry you -- for instance, agreeing to marry without any intention to consummate the marriage or live as a married couple -- results in a voidable marriage eligible for annulment.

Considerations

Until New Hampshire approved same-sex marriage in 2009, it was illegal in the state and any such ceremonies were void and carried no legal effect. Since that time, same-sex marriages and male-female marriages are governed by the same laws. If you are in a same-sex marriage and want an annulment, you must petition the court using the same grounds that a same-sex couple would use, such as a fraudulent inducement to marry, to warrant an annulment.

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

References

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Requirements for an Annulment in Massachusetts

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t annul your marriage just because it was fleeting in duration. Each state’s legislative code sets specific guidelines for what constitutes an annullable marriage. In Massachusetts, the length of the marriage is not included in these guidelines. The state is stingy about granting annulments, and spouses often find it easier to file for a no-fault divorce instead. If your marriage qualifies, you would have to prove to the court one of seven grounds for annulment. This is sometimes difficult, whereas you don’t have to prove any ground to get a no-fault divorce.

How to Get an Annulment in Virginia

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.

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 the option of ending their marriage by divorce or annulment. In a divorce, the Illinois court orders the dissolution of a valid marriage. However, when a marriage is annulled in Illinois, the marriage is invalidated and treated as if it never took place.

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