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Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses Annulment vs. Divorce in Maryland

Written by Amar Weisman » April 15, 2014 »

Some people are under the mistaken belief that if they are married for less than six months and they decide that things are not working out between them, they can simply get their marriages annulled really quickly.  However, in the state of Maryland, that is not the case.  Annulments will only be granted in Maryland when marriages are deemed to be invalid due to the fact that they are void or voidable. 

When speaking to a client, a well-versed Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer might advise that individual that the grounds for an annulment typically arise prior to the date of the actual wedding ceremony.  Contrary to popular belief, the length of time that the parties have been married is not a factor. Ultimately, when a person seeks to have his or her marriage annulled, the individual wants the court to say that the marriage never existed. It is for that reason that annulments are hardly ever granted and courts will alternatively choose to grant a divorce in many instances.

When Is a Marriage Void?

Individuals should be aware that void marriages are always deemed invalid.  So, what makes a marriage void?  If either party is legally married to someone else at the time of the wedding ceremony, the new marriage will be void. Additionally, if the individuals to be married are related in a way that is not permitted by law, that, too, will make the marriage void. A marriage can also be deemed void if either individual to be married has been found to be legally insane or mentally incompetent in some way.

As your Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer will tell you, void marriages were never valid in the first place, and as such, parties cannot waive the grounds that make the marriages void because of public policy implications. 

What Is a Voidable Marriage?

Voidable marriages will remain valid until they are formally declared invalid by a court.  Again, it is important for individuals to understand that the length of the marriage does not matter. Generally speaking, marriages are voidable if at the time of the ceremony, one of the individuals to be married was not at least 18 years of age (unless he or she obtained parental consent or a doctor's certification of pregnancy), if a party was forced or tricked into entering into a marriage, and/or if a party to the marriage lacked the mental capacity (either temporarily or permanently) to get married. Additionally, if a wedding ceremony was performed by someone who did not have the authority to do so, that would also make a marriage voidable.

The criteria and factors that are required to demonstrate the need for an individual to obtain an annulment as opposed to a divorce are often quite difficult to meet. That is why courts tend to grant divorces instead of annulments. Parties should note, however, that if a court does decide to grant an annulment, it can also choose to award child and/or spousal support and divide property in the same way it would in a divorce proceeding. If you would like to learn more about annulments and how they differ from divorces, contact a Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC today.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.