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What is annulment and does it apply to me?

Dissolution falls under the same category as divorce; it means the legal process of ending a marriage or civil partnership. However, a divorce a is sought when the parties acknowledge the marriage existed, an annulment declares a marriage null and void. You will need to prove to the court that your marriage was never actually valid for one or more of the many reasons or that it is since void because one of the options is applicable to you.

This may apply to you if you fall under any of the following grounds.

What grounds for dissolution can I file on?

The courts may deem your marriage void or voidable if:

Your marriage may be void if:

– you were closely related to the person you married.

– one or both of you were under 16 at the date of the marriage

– one of you was already married or in a civil partnership.


– the marriage was not consummated (so if you have not had sexual intercourse since the wedding, this does not apply to same sex couples);

– you did not consent to the marriage.

– the other person had a sexually transmitted disease at the date of the wedding.

– your spouse was pregnant by another man at the date of the wedding; or

– one spouse was in the process of undergoing the process to transition to a different gender.

– At the time of the marriage either party, though capable of giving a valid consent, was suffering (whether continuously or intermittently) from mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983 of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfitted for marriage

How can I get a dissolution?

You are able to apply for an annulment at any point after you are married. However, as previously explained, the grounds for seeking an annulment are sometimes limited and hard to prove.

You must also have lived in England or Wales for at least a year and have had a permanent residence here for 6 months before applying. People often assume that a short-lived marriage can automatically be annulled because of it’s duration. However, this is not the case. While many places will grant an annulment after a certain amount of time, there is not an automatic annulment granted to end a short marriage, it still has to fall under one of the void or voidable categories

How does the process work?

The process is still quite simple if your marriage does fall under the category of annulment.

Step 1 – Filing a nullity petition, these are slightly different to standard divorce petitions. There are of course none of the five choices for grounds as there is with the standard divorce, just the previously mentioned void or voidable grounds.

Step 2 – The courts will check and approve the contents and the petition is issued. Your spouse will need to sign the petition and nullity papers they have been sent and return them to court.

Step 3- Apply for a Decree Nisi, there are slightly different forms for annulments. Depending on which ground for annulment you opted for, you will either need to complete a void or voidable statement in support.

Step 4 – Once the Decree Nisi is accepted and a date has been set for the Decree Nisi, you will have a period of six weeks and one day and then you will be able to apply for the Decree Absolute.

Step 5 – Apply for the Decree Absolute, this is to make the decree final.

Finances in Annulment Cases

Finances in annulment cases are not always as simple than with divorce. Marriage annulment alone doesn’t put an end to the financial relationship between you and your spouse. As the annulment deems you never actually married, it is especially important to organise a financial settlement once your proceedings start.


To start your annulment today, call us on 0800 294 0452.

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