Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Guided Legal Forms & Services: Sign In

Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

California Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

Last updated 11/12/2019

Perhaps the glimmer has come off of your Golden State romance, and you are looking at options for ending your marriage. With a few options from which to choose (legal separation, summary dissolution, annulment, divorce), how do you know which one is right for you? Marriage-ending legal proceedings generally have strict rules regarding who they apply to and what circumstances they cover. This is a brief introduction to one of those processes, annulment, and a brief look at types of prohibited marriages in California.

Annulments and Prohibited Marriages

States have their own laws regarding annulment and the various types of marriages that are prohibited (such as those between blood relatives). California annulment and prohibited marriage laws govern the grounds for annulment (a court ruling that the marriage was never valid in the first place), time limits for obtaining an annulment, and the various scenarios in which a marriage would not be recognized by the state.

Annulment Laws in California

Each state may have different annulment laws. Below are some general highlights of these various laws, found in the California Family Code.

Code Section

Family 2200, 2201, 2210, 2211

Grounds for Annulment

  • Party did not have capability to consent
  • Party had another living spouse
  • Party was of unsound mind, unless party freely cohabitated with spouse after coming to reason 
  • Consent obtained by force or fraud, unless party freely cohabitated with spouse afterwards
  • Party was physically incapable of entering marriage 

Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment

  • Age of consent: Underage party within 4 yrs. of reaching age of consent or by parent before party has reached age
  • Fraud: Within 4 yrs. of discovery of fraud by injured party
  • Husband/wife living: Either party during life or by former spouse
  • Unsound mind: Any time before death
  • Consent by force: Within 4 yrs. of marriage by injured party
  • Physical incapability: Within 4 yrs. of marriage by injured party

Legitimacy of Children


Prohibited Marriages

  • Ancestor and descendant of any degree
  • Brother and sister (half-blood included)
  • Uncle and niece
  • Aunt and nephew
  • Bigamy and polygamy

Related Resources for Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

The decision to end a marriage is never an easy one, especially if you are concerned about the legality of your marriage to begin with. To find more general information about this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on annulmentdivorce, and California family law. If you would like legal assistance with your case, you can consult with an experienced California divorce attorney.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

Get tailored divorce advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options