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How To Get an Annulment in Alabama

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Many unhappy spouses, in moments of anger, claim their marriages are mistakes. They may even go as far as wishing their marriage had never happened. Getting an annulment in Alabama can make a marriage “disappear,” but in the eyes of the law, simply declaring a marriage a “mistake” is not necessarily grounds for an annulment. 

In fact, getting an annulment in Alabama can be quite challenging. Certain requirements and circumstances must be met. If you’re considering annulment, it’s important to understand what the process entails. 

What Is the Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment? 

A marriage can end in one of two ways: annulment or divorce. It’s important to understand the differences between the two. 

  • A marriage ends in divorce when both parties acknowledge that the marriage existed. 
  • An annulment declares that a marriage is null and void. 

If you’re considering getting an annulment in Alabama, you must understand what the process is and how it works. 

What is an Annulment and How Does it Work? 

An annulment renders a marriage “void” – as if it never happened in the first place. In declaring a marriage as void, both parties also end all claims they may have otherwise had on: 

  • Property rights 
  • Retirement benefits 
  • Insurance 
  • Other assets 

Because of the drastic nature of an annulment and its financial implications, Alabama law restricts its availability. In other words, annulments are rare, and in order to be granted, you must meet very specific requirements. 

Divorce is the Most Common Way to End a Divorce in Alabama 

Divorce can be stressful and complex, but it is still the most common way to end a marriage. In the state of Alabama, spouses can choose to end a marriage on the grounds of incompatibility alone. Few requirements need to be met, apart from residency, which makes the process more accessible to couples who wish to part ways. 

An experienced family law attorney, like those at Hankey Law Firm, can help you understand whether an annulment is available to you and navigate the process of filing for one. 

What Are the Reasons Someone Can Seek an Annulment in Alabama? 

Under Alabama law, a marriage can be declared null and void under very specific and limited circumstances. You must be able to prove that your marriage was invalid due to one of the following reasons: 

You Were Under Duress or Coerced into the Marriage 

For a marriage to be legal and valid, both parties must enter into it voluntarily. If one spouse was under duress or coerced into the marriage in some way, an annulment may be granted. 

One Spouse Concealed Facts 

If one spouse conceals facts or lies about something that is central to a marriage, an annulment may be granted. Examples include but are not limited to: 

  • Hiding a pregnancy by someone other than the spouse 
  • A spouse only entering a marriage for the purpose of obtaining citizenship 
  • The concealment of impotence, disease or the intention to remain celibate during the marriage 

Alabama courts have granted annulments in cases where spouses have knowingly concealed incurable sexually transmitted diseases prior to the marriage. There is no guarantee of annulment in this case, but if the disease is discovered shortly after the wedding, it may be granted. 

If a marriage is entered into under false pretenses, annulment may be an option. 

You Were Under the Age of 18 

If one or both parties are under the age of 18 and did not get parental consent for the marriage, it may be annulled. Anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 must get parental consent in order to marry. 

It’s important to note that an annulment may only be an option until one or both parties turn 18.  

The Spouses are Related by Blood or Adoption  

Alabama Code Section 13A-13-3 clearly states that a marriage where spouses are related by either adoption or blood is classified as a felony offense. You can file for an annulment under this circumstance because it falls within the criminal code. 

You will need to provide proof of the relation, which may require blood tests, birth certificates, or other evidence. 

One Spouse is Currently Married to Another Spouse (Bigamy) 

Alabama considers marriage to more than a single person bigamy. Your spouse may have knowingly or unknowingly been married when they said, “I do,” to you. For example, if your spouse filed for divorce prior to your marriage but didn’t receive the final divorce order from the court, they cannot remarry. 

If you are not the first person in the marriage, you can file for an annulment. Otherwise, if you are the first marriage, your marriage may not be seen as invalid. 

How Can You Get an Annulment in Alabama? 

Getting an annulment in Alabama means that your marriage is null and void. You are free from the legal contract of marriage, and Alabama will view it like you were never married in the first place. 

You will need to meet the requirements of an annulment, and this is something we can help you determine as your attorney. 

Once a ground for annulment is established, it’s time to: 

  • Prepare your petition 
  • Gather evidence to support your claim 
  • File a petition with the court 

An annulment hearing will take place, where all of the evidence gathered is presented in your case. The hearing may not go in your favor, but if you gather the proper evidence, your chances of the annulment going forward are good. 

Evidence will be paramount in your annulment, and what’s required from you will change based on the reason for the petition. 

For example: 

  • Fraud or concealment: You’ll need to prove the fraud existed, and this may be as simple as text messages between you and the other party. 
  • Coercion: If you were coerced into a marriage, it is grounds for annulment. You may need to provide proof of violence, such as medical records, photos or videos of the coercion. Coercion can also be any other form of force, including physical violence, blackmail or mental coercion. 

Witness testimony and any other evidence that you can gather will help your case. Depending on the reason for the annulment, you may need to provide one or a combination of the following: 

  • Photos 
  • Birth certificates 
  • Medical records 
  • Electronic records 
  • Witness testimonies 
  • Recordings 

Gathering evidence to strengthen your petition takes time and can be emotionally draining. You may have to relive some very dark memories. An attorney can gather the evidence for you to help ease this burden and allow you to begin moving on as soon as possible. 

How Can a Divorce Attorney Help You with Getting an Annulment in Alabama? 

Divorce attorneys can help you better understand whether an annulment is an option in your unique case or if a divorce is better suited to your situation. An annulment can move along quickly and is often a less expensive option compared to divorce. 

An attorney will: 

  • Review the facts 
  • Analyze the evidence 
  • Provide insights into the annulment 

If an annulment is an option, your attorney will work to gather evidence and file the petition on your behalf. We know the ins and outs of divorce and annulments and can carefully guide you down either path. 

The process starts with a consultation, where we begin to know each other better and determine the right course of action for you. 

Schedule a consultation to speak to us more in-depth about your annulment.