Typically, marriage is regulated at the state level. State laws prohibit certain marriage arrangements, while they also establish limits and procedures for civil annulments. Marriages may be civilly annulled for a variety of reasons, and civil annulments have the effect of erasing a marriage as if it never took place.
At the same time, historically, certain varieties of marriage have been treated as legally invalid. Certain varieties of marriage remain that way. If a marriage is legally invalid, it often automatically qualifies for a civil annulment.
Continue reading for a breakdown of legal issues and laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages in Missouri.
Same-Sex Marriage in Missouri
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Obergefell v. Hodges. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court found that state laws against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they are violations of constitutional guarantees to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. In the wake of that decision, same-sex marriages became legal across the country.
Civil Annulments & Prohibited Marriages in Missouri
The following table lists some basics of Missouri laws that are related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages. See FindLaw's Marriage Law section to learn more.
- Under V.A.M.S. 451.030, bigamous marriages are prohibited.
- Under V.A.M.S. 451.090, marriages involving underage parties are prohibited, unless the written consent of a parent or guardian has been obtained. A court may also authorize an underage person to enter into a marriage. A person is considered underage if they are less than 18 years old.
- Under V.A.M.S. 451.020, incestuous marriages are prohibited. Incestuous marriages are defined as marriages between closely related family members. There are some exceptions to this for certain types of cousins who are legally permitted to marry one another.
- Marriages involving parties that lack the ability to consent to the marriage are prohibited. Examples of what disqualifies a person from having the ability to consent are mental incompetence and senility.
- Under other relevant state laws, marriages entered into by duress or fraud are prohibited.
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
|No Missouri law explicitly addresses a time limit for pursuing a civil annulment.
|Legitimacy of Children
|Under common law and public policy, children that are born to legally invalid marriages or marriages that have been annulled are considered legitimate.
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
Consider reviewing the following resources, as well, for more information about laws in Missouri, including those related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages:
- At Missouri Law, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages.
- At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages: Related Resources
Consider reviewing the following resources, as well, for more information about laws and legal issues related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages:
Learn More About Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages: Contact a Family Law Attorney
Ending a marriage is one of the most stressful and confusing life events a person can experience. The emotional stress often associated with the process can make it difficult to focus on the legal details. A legal professional can help you better understand your legal options and represent you in court. Find a Missouri family law attorney today.