What is an annulment?

An annulment is a court ruling that a marriage was never valid. The most common ground for annulment is fraud and misrepresentation. For example, one person may not have disclosed to the other a prior divorce, a criminal record, an infectious disease, or an inability to engage in sex or have children. Annulment may also be granted in cases involving bigamy, incest, or marriage to an underage person.

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How common are annulments?

Very uncommon; divorces are generally easier to obtain, and the basis for annulment is narrower than the basis for divorce. However, one party may prefer an annulment in order to avoid some obligations that a court might impose in a divorce. Also, in a few states, spousal support that terminated because of the recipient’s second marriage may be reinstated if the second marriage is annulled.

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