When many people first hear the word "annulment," they think of a religious annulment. These are granted by a church or clergy member. While these processes may result in a dissolution of your marriage in the eyes of a religious institution, they do not legally end your marriage. Instead, there are separate procedures called “civil annulments."
Each state has its own set of annulment and prohibited marriage laws that invalidate marriage under certain circumstances. Alabama's marriage laws, for example, focus on the age of consent and prohibit bigamous or incestuous marriages.
In Alabama, the age of consent is 16, under most circumstances. At the same time, a person in Alabama can marry without the consent of a parent or guardian, when they are 18 years of age. However, a person can also marry as young as 16 years of age, if they also obtain a parent's or guardian's consent.
Annulment Laws in Alabama
Annulment and prohibited marriage laws in Alabama are highlighted in the table below.
||Under Alabama law, the following types of marriages are prohibited:
- Under 13A-13-1, bigamy is prohibited. Bigamy is defined as entering into a second marriage while already being legally married to another person.
- Under 30-1-3, incestuous marriages are prohibited.
- While 30-1-19 remains on the books in Alabama, it is no longer enforceable. As a prohibition on marriages between people of the same sex, the law became unconstitutional in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage in 2015.
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
||A time limit is not specified by any law in Alabama.
|Legitimacy of Children
||The children of incestuous or bigamous marriages are considered legitimate.
|Grounds for Annulments
||Under the statutes cited above in "Prohibited Marriages," bigamous and incestuous marriages are prohibited by law and thus serve as grounds for civil annulments.
Same-Sex Marriage in Alabama
The Obergefell v. Hodges ruling was a landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage in Alabama and every other state in the country regardless of their statutory or constitutional bans. In the wake of this case, not only did same-sex marriage become legal, but it also ceased to be a legitimate basis for a civil annulment.
For additional updates and the latest developments in same-sex marriage law, you can visit FindLaw's Same-Sex Marriage section.
Related Resources for Alabama Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws
Marriage can be a complicated legal process. You can contact an Alabama divorce attorney if you would like assistance with a matter related to divorce or civil annulment. You can also visit FindLaw's sections on Annulment, Divorce, and Alabama Family Law for additional articles and information on this topic.