In order for a marriage to be legal in Michigan, both the couple and the marriage itself must meet certain conditions. If those conditions are not met, the marriage does not legally exist. When a legal marriage ends, a couple is divorced. When a marriage that is not legal in the eyes of the state ends, it can be considered annulled. Annulment applies in a very limited set of circumstances. If you believe your marriage never could have legally taken place, speak to an attorney about the possibility of annulment.
Do I qualify for an annulment?
In Michigan there are specific conditions under which a couple or individual can seek to annul their marriage:
- Consanguinity — when the spouses are close relatives
- Bigamy — when one spouse is already married to someone else
- Underage — when one spouse is under Michigan’s legal age limit of 16
- Force or fraud — when one partner withholds or falsifies information — such as the inability to have children — or forces the other to marry
In the event that the couple has had children, custody is either divided by agreement or a court order, or given to the spouse who is innocent of any fraudulent wrongdoing. Children of a marriage that is annulled are considered legitimate children of their parents.
How annulment differs from divorce
While the result of an annulment is very similar to that of divorce –it effectively ends a marriage — there are some differences. Following an annulment:
- There can be temporary spousal support, but there is no possibility of permanent alimony
- If one parent is underage or incapable, children are legally children of the capable parent and not of both parents
- It is as if the marriage never existed and both partners are free to marry other people immediately
Legal annulment should not be confused with religious annulment, which can only be granted through a religious institution. If you have questions about your qualification for annulment, speak with a family law attorney at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins.