Can I Have My Marriage Annulled?


Every so often, we receive the question, “Can I have my marriage annulled?” Annulments are fairly uncommon because they happen infrequently and are difficult to prove. Nonetheless, they do still occur and are an option to end marriages that are considered void from the start. 


What is an annulment?

An annulment is a legal action that seeks to void your marriage. If granted, the annulment it means the marriage never existed and the parties can say that they were never married to each other. 

You are probably most familiar with annulments in the context of Las Vegas weddings and spontaneous celebrity marriages. For example, Britney Spears and Jason Alexander received an annulment after having a spontaneous marriage ceremony in Las Vegas back in 2004. Spears stated that she did not fully understand the context of what was happening, meaning she was “incapable” of getting married.

Some divorced couples attempt to have their marriages annulled before eventually filing for divorce. For instance, Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray attempted to annul their marriage back in 2003, but ultimately had to go through the divorce process. A similar situation occurred with Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries after their infamous seventy-two-day marriage in 2011.


How is an annulment different from divorce?

An annulment is different from a divorce because a divorce ends a marriage while an annulment declares that the marriage never existed. . An annulment considers the marriage to be void from the time of the ceremony. A divorce recognizes that two people entered into a marital relationship, which must be dissolved by a court.   


What are the reasons for annulment in Maryland?

To obtain an annulment, the court must agree that your marriage is void because of one or more of the following reasons:

  1. One spouse coerced the other to get married. The coerced spouse must have been under duress at the time of the marriage and in fear of bodily harm.
  2. One spouse committed fraud to convince the other to marry them. The person who committed fraud must have lied about something essential to the marriage.
  3. One spouse is already married to another person who is still living. In the state of Maryland, it is illegal to be married to two people at the same time.
  4. One spouse was mentally incapable of being married. Incapable means the person lacked understanding of consent or were considered mentally unsound at the time of the marriage ceremony.
  5. The spouses are too closely related to each other, for example, they are first cousins.
  6. Either spouse was under the age of 18 at the time of marriage, unless the underage spouse is 16 or 17 and had parental consent, or the underage spouse is 15, pregnant, and had parental consent.
  7. The marriage was performed by someone without the legal authority to perform marriages. In this case the marriage license will also not be valid


How do I annul my married?

An experienced family law attorney can help you determine if it is possible to have your marriage annulled. If your marriage is not eligible for an annulment, an attorney can help you sort through your options to determine if you would like to proceed with a divorce.


Divorce and marriage annulments are complex and require the knowledge and skills of an experienced family law attorney. If you have questions, please contact Turnbull, Nicholson & Sanders, P.A. at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of family law attorneys is here to help guide you.


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