While getting a divorce simply terminates the marriage, an annulment in Mississippi takes it one step further by declaring that the marriage never existed in the first place. Essentially, the effect of an annulment puts the” annulled” parties back to the status of single or unmarried status, and generally can apply to marriages of varying durations. Moreover, each state’s laws govern the divorce process and also, who is eligible based upon one’s residency and various other requirements. Despite the fact that divorce laws across the country contain some legal commonalities, they nonetheless tend to be nuanced. As for the legal process associated with getting an annulment, it is not as state specific as the divorce process, and usually falls within two classifications – a void or voidable marriage.
So then, what is the difference between a void and voidable marriage? A void marriage is one that lacks a legal foundation, meaning, that it never existed for any purpose and is a complete nullity. Usually, void marriages enable the parties to walk away from the failed union without the necessity for a court order. However, an annulment can be helpful to parties of a void marriage given that it can assist them in dividing property and determining child custody, if applicable. Additionally, any interested party make seek an annulment of a void marriage, with said marriage potentially subject to collateral attack (i.e. in actions other than for an annulment such as probate proceedings), even following the death of one of the parties. Overall, a void marriage typically cannot be ratified by the parties. Prime examples of a void marriage are those that arise where one party is already married to another (i.e. bigamy) or, the parties are too closely related to each other, also known as consanguinity.
Unlike a void marriage, a voidable marriage has a legally sufficient foundation and as such, must be severed by a court order. In other words, if the marriage is voidable, it may be declared invalid by a court due to an impediment that existed at the time of the marriage. Moreover, an annulment of a voidable marriage can only be brought by the spouses to the union and also, cannot be collaterally attacked by either person or third parties. Voidable marriages can be ratified by the parties to the union and ordinarily occur if the parties lack the requisite age to marry (most states require the parties to be at least 18 years old) or capacity, due to issues of intoxication, mental incompetence, duress or fraud.
If you are considering getting an annulment in Mississippi, it is best to consult with an attorney experienced in handling the various nuances and complexities associated with these types of cases. Give us a give us a call now to learn more about your legal options and the nature of your rights and responsibilities. We look forward to providing you with excellent representation.
Contact Mississippi divorce lawyer Matthew S. Poole for a consultation by calling (601) 573-7429 today.