An annulment is different than a divorce in that if an annulment is granted, it is as if the marriage never occurred in the first place. Annulments in Alabama are a rarity. However, our annulment attorneys have experience in obtaining clients an annulment if the situation warrants. There are only six scenarios in which you are able to obtain an annulment in Alabama.
An annulment may be obtained if your attorney can convince the family court judge that your spouse entered into the marriage fraudulently. This typically involves one spouse who has an assumed identity and is not who they say they are. In such a situation, the judge may grant an annulment based on fraud.
If one of the parties is under 18 years of age at the time of the marriage, their parents are required to consent to the marriage. In the event the does not take place, you can argue the marriage was a nullity. Similarly, even if parents consent, in Alabama you cannot get married if you are under 16 years of age. If you do get married and one of the parties is under 16, the marriage can be annulled.
Shotgun weddings may be completely legal in Alabama, but if one of the parties only got married because they were staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, that marriage can be annulled. Duress is one of the grounds for an annulment. If one party is able to show the Alabama divorce court that they only got married under duress, they can seek an annulment.
If you are married to your brother, sister, father, or mother, you can (and should) seek an annulment in Alabama’s family court. Annulments for incest would be granted upon a showing of the close familial relationship in the marriage.
Lack of Mental Capacity
If one of the parties to the marriage lacked mental capacity at the time of the marriage, that marriage can be annulled. This lack of mental capacity can take several forms. One example can be found in the popular movie “The Hangover” where one of the characters awakens from a night of alcohol (and a “ruffie”) to find out he was married the night before. Under such circumstances, annulment would be possible. Also, if one of the parties is otherwise mentally impaired, they would lack the ability to form the necessary intent to enter into the marriage contract, again reason for an annulment in Alabama.
Finally, if you find out your spouse was already married when you got hitched, that is sufficient grounds for an annulment. Not only is bigamy grounds for an annulment in Alabama, it is also a crime.
If you prefer an annulment, rather than a divorce, contact the annulment attorneys in Birmingham at Boles Holmes White LLC to see if you qualify to void your marriage. William White, head of our domestic relations department, can be reached at 205-502-2000.