It happens often enough: an Aloha romance has gone south, and you are looking at the legal options for ending your marriage. Or maybe you’re wondering if your marriage was legal to begin with. States generally have strict rules that cover who can get married and how marriages can be dissolved. This is a brief summary of annulment and prohibited marriages in Hawaii.
Annulments and Prohibited Marriage Laws
State prohibited marriage laws regulate the institution of marriage, which includes annulment and certain restrictions on who may get married. Annulment is the legal process of invalidating a marriage, a different process than divorce, which may be sought in Hawaii if there is a previously un-dissolved marriage or for other reasons. Hawaii annulment and prohibited marriage laws also ban marriage between ancestors or descendants, brother and sister, aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, and first cousins.
Annulment Laws in Hawaii
The following chart highlights the main provisions of Hawaii's annulment and prohibited marriage laws. See FindLaw's Marriage Law Overview section for additional articles and resources.
||580-21-29; 572-1, 2
|Grounds for Annulment
||Underage, unless freely cohabitates after reaching legal age; spouse still living; lacking mental capacity; consent obtained by force, duress, fraud and no subsequent cohabitation; party afflicted with loathsome disease and was unknown to party seeking annulment
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
||For spouse still living: Anytime during either party's lifetime; Underage: Until they attain legal age and freely cohabit as a married couple; Physical incapacity: Within 2 yrs. of marriage; Lack of mental capacity: Until mental capacity attained and parties freely cohabit as a married couple
|Legitimacy of Children
||Children of annulled or prohibited marriages are legitimate.
||Between ancestor and descendant, any degree, brother and sister half or whole-blood, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew legitimate or illegitimate; bigamous.
Many states first saw the introduction of same-sex marriage with the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which found that states banning same-sex marriage violated the equal protection rights of same-sex couples. Hawaii, however, was the staging ground for the first major victory for same-sex marriage advocates when, in 1993, the case of Baehr v. Lewin found that the state's Equal Rights Amendment made the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage amount to discrimination on the basis of sex. Although the law examined and the basis for the respective rulings were different in these cases, Baehr rallied supporters and provided traction for future litigation on the issue.
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a divorce attorney in Hawaii or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Related Resources for Hawaii Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws
Ending a marriage can be a difficult decision, especially if you are wondering if your marriage was legal to begin with. You can find more introductory information about this topic by visiting FindLaw’s sections on annulment and divorce. If you would like legal assistance with your case, you can contact an experienced Hawaii divorce attorney in your area to schedule a consultation.
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