Marriage is the union of two people of opposite genders who form this bond officially and become spouses, i.e., husband and wife, in a legal manner with each other’s consent.
They live together as a family and share each other’s interests in life through a contractual relationship that is recognized, accepted, and dissolvable by legal means. Society affirms such relationships, and it is also a religious communion.
What is Marriage Annulment?
- In legal vocabulary, an annulment means the termination of something in an official way. It means that the Marriage is void, and the parties are back on the same ground where they were.
- A legal declaration of marriage annulment is necessary to clear every complicated situation in the future. A Marriage is declared void, or it is called marriage annulment by the authorities as per different law provisions.
- It can be granted to the couple if the reasoning for Marriage annulment relates to public policy or if it is void due to other scenarios in the system where it is not solemn with the Hindu Marriage Act.
- As per section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, there are certain conditions under which Marriage is acceptable by society and law.
Certain factors or Grounds can Cause Marriage Annulment.
- Fraud: Marriage annulment can be caused by fraud or lies. The official Marriage annulment can occur if there is misrepresentation or fabrication of the information.
- Unsound mind/ incapacity: The Marriage annulment can be caused if either of the parties is mentally ill or incapable and the fact was hidden or falsely displayed.
- Prohibited relationship: The ground for Marriage annulment where the relationship has a degree of prohibited relationships or bond.
- Hiding an illness: The spouse can opt for Marriage annulment if the family of the other spouse or the spouse themselves has hidden that they have a sexually transmitted disease or some terminal illness.
- Undue influence: The legal Marriage annulment can take place if the party was under alcohol influence or was abusing drugs during the Marriage or after that. It was not arranged and completely accepted by religious means.
- Bigamy: The parties seeking Marriage annulment can make the marriage void if either spouse has already been legally married to someone else at the time of their marriage.
- Underage and without consent: The Marriage annulment happens legally if the party is under the legal Marriage age of India.
- Illegitimate relationship: The woman was pregnant with someone else’s child at the time of marriage.
The legal provision declares or treats it as if it never existed & was null or void.
Many times the indirect name for Marriage annulment is the cancellation of marriage where people may want to avoid the burden of going through a divorce, and simpler ways to separate are being used.
The process to obtain Marriage Annulment
The party will have to follow the process deciphered by the legal provisions of India to obtain the nullity of Marriage legally.
- The first step is to contact a divorce lawyer who will guide them through the process and prepare the filing and documentation.
- The petitioner can arrange a meeting with the divorce lawyer either online or offline to provide evidence for grounds of annulment and brief information about the situation at hand.
- The professional will draft a Marriage annulment petition with the information and necessary documents.
- The lawyer will file it in court after the petition has been approved.
Family Court’s Jurisdiction
The party must file their petition in a family court which covers certain prerequisites:
- The location or place where the Marriage was legally solemnized.
- The location where the parties stayed together. The present or the last area where they resided.
- The area where the spouses are residing after living separately.
Maintenance after Annulment
- The parties can get married and arrange for a marriage annulment at any time they find the relationship going downhill due to the grounds of nullity by taking appropriate legal consultancy services.
- The Hon’ble court understands the importance and declares their verdict that any of the partners might be given maintenance from time to time for being misled and influenced.
- The maintenance can be asked to be given in a lump sum/yearly/monthly or every week as per their requirements and the level of damage caused.
Legitimacy of children
- The children born out of the void or null Marriages are declared legitimate as per section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
- This section brings light to the fact that the children should not be bastardized as they are not at fault in a void Marriage.
- It is to protect their rights and interests and secure child support and custody as per the settlement.
How is Divorce different from Annulment?
- Divorce is very different and has a whole new aspect that is beyond annulment.
- An annulment means the Marriage has been termed as void or null, whereas divorce is the legal termination of marriage either by consent or contested issues.
- The marital bond exists in such cases, and the party files a petition by taking legal consultancy services to the family court to end it for certain situations that are not reconsidered.
- Marriage is not challenged in divorce, but in annulment, it is challenging and termed as void.
- Divorce is ending a valid bond, whereas a marriage annulmentis declaring it officially void.
- Annulment status is clear, and the parties become single, whereas, in divorce, the parties are termed as “Divorced.”
- No alimony is charged for an annulment, but it is given for divorce depending on the nature of the case.
Marriage is only valid if certain social conditions and laws are conducted and considered. The void Marriage may have been settled in society but is nullified on the grounds of family laws.