Can A Same-Sex Marriage Be Annulled?


Fans of the Phoenix Mercury women's basketball team were likely shocked when the team's center, Brittney Griner, recently announced she had filed for an annulment of her marriage to Glory Johnson. The move is surprising since the couple wed on May 8 and Johnson announced shortly afterwards that she was pregnant. However, the situation does bring up an interesting question of whether or not it's possible to annul a same-sex marriage.

Same-Sex Annulment Depends on Location

Unlike a divorce, an annulment voids a marriage and basically puts both parties back to where they were as though the marriage never took place. There is no division of assets, so each person leaves the relationship with his or her money and property. However, they will still be responsible for any children produced.

To fully appreciate the problem you may have getting a same-sex marriage annulment, it's important to realize that only legally married adults can get one. This means that if you live in a state where same-sex marriage is still illegal or marriages conducted in other states are not recognized, then you can't get an annulment in that state.

For instance, if you were married in Massachusetts but live in Georgia where same-sex marriage is banned, you would not be able to get an annulment in that state. You would need to establish residency in a state where same-sex marriage was allowed or recognized to obtain this type of separation from your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Requirements for an Annulment

However, even if you lived in a state where it was legal for you to annul your marriage, the circumstances of your marriage must meet the state's legal requirements for an annulment. Though there may be some minor differences between states, in general you can get an annulment if one or more of these factors are true:

  • The participants were not of legal age or too closely related (e.g. brother and sister)
  • One or both parties were still legally married to other people
  • One party was too mentally incapacitated to agree to the contract (e.g. someone suffering from late-stage Alzheimer's disease)
  • The marriage wasn't consummated
  • One party committed fraud or misrepresentation
  • One party withheld material information that would have impacted the other person's decision to get married (e.g. a criminal history)
  • One party entered the marriage for the express purpose of getting a green card
  • Duress, threats, or force was used to compel one person to enter the marriage

There generally isn't a minimum or maximum length of time you have to be together to get an annulment. Even if you've been married for years, you can get an annulment if you have just cause.

For more information on or assistance with getting an annulment, contact a divorce attorney in your area or visit a go to website.


7 June 2015

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