Laws determining what constitutes a prohibited marriage, including legal grounds for annulment, are established at the state level. Annulment differs from divorce in that it legally erases the marriage as if it never happened. New Jersey began legally recognizing same-sex marriage in October, 2013, after the state supreme court denied the governor's request for a stay of a lower court decision legalizing marriage equality. Same-sex marriage was later legalized in states that had yet to do so when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges.
The annulment process begins when you (or the other spouse) fills out and files a "Complaint for Annulment." In the complaint, you will provide basic information about you and your spouse, and the grounds for annulment. Since this is a legal action, your spouse must be officially "served" with the complaint.
The judge will simply enter a decree of annulment, without a hearing, if your spouse agrees with objection. However, you and your spouse will have to testify before a judge if he or she does not agree to the annulment. Here, you will be expected to present evidence proving one of the grounds for annulment.
While annulment is very different than divorce (in which the validity of the dissolved marriage is still recognized), there may be some similarities. For instance, the judge may make decisions about child custody and support, and in some rare instances may award spousal support.
The main provisions of New Jersey's annulment and prohibited marriage laws are listed below. See FindLaw's Marriage Law section to learn more.
||2A:34-1, 20; 37:1-1
|Grounds for Annulment
||Previous marriage undissolved; incest; impotency; lack of consent due to alcohol, understanding capacity, drugs, duress, fraud; underage
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
||Incestuous: During lifetime of parties
|Legitimacy of Children
||Children of annulled marriage are legitimate
||Between ancestor and descendant, brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew of whole or half blood
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New Jersey family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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New Jersey Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws: Related Resources