In order for a couple to get married, they must meet the marriage requirements of their respective state. These requirements are fairly standard across most states, including prohibitions on bigamy or incestuous relationships.
State laws that prohibit certain marriages and establish rules for annulment generally prohibit marriage between close relatives, if one of the parties is already married, if the marriage was obtained under duress, and other reasons. Annulment is a legal procedure that "erases" the marriage as if it never existed in the first place, reserved for invalid marriages.
Annulment and Prohibited Marriage in North Dakota: Overview
Although North Dakota passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage between same-sex partners, the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges established that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Unless North Dakota attempts to legislate its way around this decision, same-sex marriage will remain available in North Dakota. Other marriages prohibited by law include close relatives (such as brother and sister) and bigamy (having more than one spouse).
North Dakota's grounds for annulment are very similar to those provided in other states, including the presence of an undissolved previous marriage and marriage through fraud or force.
The following chart lists additional details about North Dakota's laws regarding annulment and prohibited marriage. See FindLaw's Marriage Law section to learn more.
||14-04-01, et seq., 14-03-03, 14-03-06; 14-03-01
|Grounds for Annulment
||Underage; previous marriage undissolved; unsound mind, fraud, or force (unless ratified); physically incapable; incestuous
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
||Previous marriage undissolved: Anytime during life of parties; Underage: Within 4 yrs. of age of consent or unless voluntary cohabitation; Unsound mind: Anytime; Fraud, 4 yrs. after discovery; force or physically incapable: 4 yrs. of the marriage; Incestuous: Anytime
|Legitimacy of Children
||Issue of annulled or prohibited marriages are legitimate
||Between ancestor and descendant, brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, first cousins (half and whole blood, legitimate and illegitimate, bigamous
||North Dakota passed a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to heterosexual couples only. The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that state constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage or the refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other states were unconstitutional violations of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Guarantees. Since this decision same-sex marriage has been legal, though states may yet raise new and novel challenges.
Note: State laws changs frequently through changes in legislation and decisions from higher courts. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact a North Dakota family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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North Dakota Prohibited Marriage Laws: Related Resources