Though it may seem simple, the legal proceedings surrounding marriage actually have strict rules. Each state has its own set of annulment and prohibited marriage laws that prohibit marriages under 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, when person tries to marry more than one spouse, or incestuous marriages, where a person tries to marry a 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 time limit, so it is important to act promptly if you are considering an annulment.
This article provides a brief overview of annulment and prohibited marriages in the state of Maine.
Maine Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws
Maine's annulment and prohibited marriage laws are similar to other states, but it's good to know the specifics for your state if you need to get out of a marriage and prefer to do so without divorcing, for either religious or financial reasons.
The following chart lists the basics on Maine's annulment and prohibited marriage laws.
|Grounds for Annulment
||When the validity of a marriage is doubted, either party may file a complaint for annulment; when a marriage is annulled due to a prior marriage, and the person contracting the second marriage did so in good faith, believing that their prior spouse was dead, the former marriage was void or divorce had been decreed leaving the party to the former marriage free to marry again, that fact must be stated in the decree of nullity (M.R.S.A. Tit. 19-A § 752)
- When residents of the state, with the intent to evade the rules of the state, go to another state or country to marry and return to Maine, that marriage is void in Maine (M.R.S.A. Tit. 19-A § 701)
- A person may not marry their mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, brother's daughter, sister's daughter, father's sister, mother's sister, the daughter of his father's brother or sister, or the daughter of his mother's brother or sister (M.R.S.A. Tit. 19-A § 701)
- A person for whom a guardian or limited guardian has been appointed may not contract marriage without the approval of the appointed guardian (M.R.S.A. Tit. 19-A § 701)
- A marriage contracted while either party has a living spouse from whom the party is not divorced Is void (M.R.S.A. Tit. 19-A § 701)
- A marriage contracted when either party has failed to submit a certificate or certified copy of the divorce decree or annulment of the last marriage or the death record of the last spouse or when either party has intentionally lied about the number of previous marriages is void (M.R.S.A. Tit. 19-A § 701)
||The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) established that bans on same-sex marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, legalizing same-sex marriages in every state, including Maine.
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.
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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 divorce 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 speaking to a local family law attorney today.