Grounds for annulment in North Carolina
In North Carolina there are very few circumstances in which a marriage can be declared void. The length of time married is not a determining factor to request an annulment. One of the six following criteria must be proven in district court to have a marriage declared void:
- Marriage between any two persons nearer in relationship than first cousins. First cousins are the sons or daughters of a parent's sibling.
- Marriage between double first cousins. Double first cousins occur when a set of brothers marries a set of sisters, or a brother and a sister marry another sister and brother, and they produce children. The children of these two marriages are double first cousins.
- Marriage between a male person under 16 years of age and a female, with the exception of a court order as a result of a pregnancy when between the ages of 14 and 16.
- Marriage between a female person under 16 years of age and a male, with the exception of a court order as a result of a pregnancy when between the ages of 14 and 16.
- Marriage where either of the parties is physically impotent at the time of the marriage. Impotence must be permanent, incurable and medically diagnosed by a doctor.
- Marriage between persons either of whom is, at the time of the marriage, incapable of contracting due to want of will or understanding is not automatically void. The test for determining mental capacity of someone to enter into a contract to marry is the ability of the person, at the time of the marriage, to understand the special nature of a contract of marriage and the duties and responsibilities which it entails. Such a determination is made on a case-by-case basis.
It is also important to know certain other conditions that apply:
- No marriage—except for a bigamous one—that is followed by the spouses living together and the birth of a child shall be declared void after the death of either of the spouses.
- No marriage by anyone 16 years old and otherwise competent to marry will be declared void when the girl is pregnant, or when a child has been born to the parties, unless at the time of the action to annul, the child has died.
- A marriage contracted under the representation and belief that the female is pregnant are voidable unless a child has been born within ten lunar months of the date of separation, if the parties separate within 45 days of the marriage and the separation has been continuous for a period of one year.
- Church annulments are not the same as legal annulments.
Marriages considered automatically void
In North Carolina, a bigamous marriage or a marriage between two people of the same sex is automatically void and does not require court action to make it so. Marriages between two people of the same sex that were solemnized and valid in other states or countries are also void in North Carolina. If you have a valid marriage to a member of the same sex from another state or country, please visit our LGBT page for more information on protecting your rights.
Because every family is different
Annulments are different than divorces, and it is important to understand whether you qualify for an annulment and what the effect of annulling your marriage would be. Haas & Associates, P.A. attorneys are fully informed about these issues and are happy to assist you. We understand that each family has its own unique needs and goals that should be honored and furthered by the legal professionals who support them. That is why commitment to our clients' needs is our number one priority. Call us at 1-919-827-0916, or contact Haas & Associates, P.A. online to set up a consultation about alimony and spousal support issues with one of our attorneys.