Annulment of a marriage is a judicial declaration that marriage was invalid from its inception. Many clients over the years have called and stated that rather than getting divorced, they wanted their marriage annulled. In Georgia, there are only limited circumstances where a marriage can be annulled and although you might like to have your marriage annulled unless you fit into these limited circumstances, the only legal way to end your marriage is through a divorce.
Generally, the only marriages that are declared void as a matter of law (annulled) are those entered into by a person that was either unable to contract to be married, unwilling to contract to be married or fraudulently induced to contract to be married. Here are examples of where this applies:
Bigamy - You or your present spouse were married to someone else and for some reason, you didn't get a valid divorce before remarrying.
Underage - You or your present spouse was not old enough to get married and lied about your age in order to get your marriage license. You must be 18 years old to marry, but with your parents' consent, you can marry at 16 years of age.
You married your close relative - You and your present spouse are siblings or half-siblings. In Georgia, you cannot legally marry your parent, your step-parent, your grandparent, your aunt, or your uncle (blood-related)
Mental infirmity - You or your spouse were not mentally competent to marry
Duress - If you got married because someone made you "an offer you couldn't refuse," by telling you, "either your signature or your brains are going to be on the marriage contract,"
Fraud - You were tricked by your spouse, who told you they wanted to have children, and then shortly after the marriage begins, they tell you they won't have children or you discover they had their tubes tied or had a vasectomy.
Fraud is very difficult to prove in these circumstances and you must also be able to prove that once you discovered the fraud, you stopped living as a man and wife. Georgia law states that even if there was duress or fraud in the inducement to marry, that if the victim of the fraud or duress then voluntarily consents and ratifies the marriage by continuing to live as a spouse of the person that defrauded or forced them to marry, then the marriage is valid and cannot be annulled.
Finally, there is one other exception. If you and your spouse have a child, you cannot have the marriage annulled under any circumstances. You must get a divorce to end the marriage. This is because the State of Georgia does not want to make your child illegitimate. Miles W. Rich has handled some annulment cases and will be happy to represent you if your unique situation fits the statutory requirements.