Though it may seem simple, the legal proceedings surrounding marriage actually have strict rules, with each state having its own set of annulment and prohibited marriage laws that prohibit marriage in certain circumstances. A prohibited marriage is void because the marriage was never lawful. Generally, there's no need to get an annulment or divorce in these cases. Commonly prohibited marriages typically include bigamous marriages, where a person tries to marry more than one spouse, or incestuous marriages, where a person tries to marry their relative.
An annulment, on the other hand, is a way to void a marriage that would be otherwise invalid. While both an annulment and a divorce end a marriage, an annulment wipes the slate clean as if there was no marriage to begin with. However, you usually need to get an annulment within a certain amount of time, so it is important to know the laws and act promptly if you are considering annulling your marriage.
This article provides a brief overview of annulment and prohibited marriages in the state of Idaho.
Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws in Idaho
The chart below lists the details of Idaho's annulment and prohibited marriage statutes.
|Grounds for Annulment
Marriages can be annulled for any of these reasons under I.C. § 32-501 if:
- The party seeking the annulment was under the age of legal consent, and such marriage was contracted without the consent of their parents or guardian unless after attaining the age of consent, the party for any time freely cohabits with the other as spouses
- The former spouse of either party was living, and the marriage with the former spouse was then in force
- Either party was of unsound mind, unless the party, after coming to reason, freely cohabitate with the other as spouses
- The consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless the party, with full knowledge of the facts constituting fraud, freely cohabited with the other as spouses
- The consent of either party was obtained by force unless the party freely cohabited with the other as spouses
- Either party, at the time of marriage, was physically incapable of entering into the married state, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
Under I.C. § 32-502, the time limit for an annulment varies by the type of reason for annulment:
- Underage: Can be annulled by the parent anytime before their child reaches adulthood or by a person who married underage within four years of turning 18 years old
- Force or impotence: Can be annulled within four years of marriage
- Fraud: Can be annulled within four years of discovering the fraud
- Unsound mind and spouse living: Can be annulled anytime before death by the spouse or the relative or guardian of the party with an unsound mind
|Legitimacy of Children
||When a marriage is annulled for any reason, other than for fraud in that the wife is pregnant with the child of a man other than the husband, children begotten before judgment are legitimate and succeed to the estate of both parents. (I.C. § 32-503)
- Incestuous marriages: Idaho prohibited marriages it considers to be incestuous, which includes marriages between ancestor and descendant, brother and sister (half and whole blood), uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, and first cousins. (I.C. § 32-205, 206)
- Polygamous marriages: Marriages are considered polygamous or bigamous and invalid if either spouse was still married to another person. However, if a person's spouse has been missing for five years and is generally believed to be dead, they can remarry. (I.C. § 32-207)
- Chastity: Neither party to a contract to marry is bound by a promise made in ignorance of the other's want of personal chastity, and either is released therefrom by unchaste conduct on the part of the other unless both parties participate in the chastity. (I.C. § 32-208)
Marriages performed in other states are valid in Idaho if they were valid in the state or country in which they were contracted unless they violate the public policy of Idaho. (I.C. § 32-209)
||The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) established that bans on same-sex marriage in any state violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, legalizing same-sex marriage in all of the United States.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Related Resources: Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws
Next Steps: Speak to a Family Law Attorney
If you are considering annulling your marriage or have questions regarding its legitimacy, you should speak to a local family law attorney. An experienced attorney can view the specific facts of your case and give you legal advice using the relevant laws of your jurisdiction. Get started by receiving a consultation from a local family law attorney today.