Regulations relating to marriage, divorce, and annulment are made at the state level. This means that different states have different laws determining when a marriage may be annulled and which types of marriages are prohibited.
Civil Annulments Versus Divorce
Divorce refers to the termination of a valid marriage, while annulment refers to an invalid marriage that is not recognized by law. A party must demonstrate legal grounds (legally-accepted reasons) for an annulment. Each state has laws providing the legal grounds for annulment. The chart below covers the reasons a person may pursue an annulment.
Ohio law prohibits bigamy and marriages between closely related family members. At one point in history, Ohio also prohibited same-sex marriages. However, in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court did so in a case called Obergefell v. Hodges.
The main provisions of Ohio's laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Marriage Law section for related articles.
Grounds for Annulment
Under Section 3105.31, the following are grounds for annulments:
- The parties are underage, and the consent of a parent or guardian was not obtained
- Previous undissolved marriage
- One of the spouses is mentally incompetent
- The consent to the marriage of one of the spouse's was obtained by fraud or force
- The marriage was never consummated
Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
Under Section 3105.31, time limits are as follows:
- For parties that are underage, within two years unless the parties voluntarily live together
- For previously undissolved marriages, anytime during the lifetime of the parties
- For reasons related to mental illness, anytime before death
- For reasons related to fraud, within two years of discovering fraud, unless the parties have voluntarily lived together
- For reasons related to consent obtained by force, two years after the marriage unless the parties have voluntarily lived together
- For failure to consummate the marriage, within two years of the marriage
Legitimacy of Children
Under common law, children that are born to legally invalid marriages or marriages that have been annulled are considered legitimate.
- Under R.C. Section 3101.01(1), marriages between underage parties are prohibited unless the consent of a parent or guardian has been obtained.
- Under R.C. Section 3105.12, common law marriages are prohibited. For more information about common law marriages, consider reviewing FindLaw's "What is Common Law Marriage?"
- Under other relevant state laws, bigamy and incestuous marriages are also prohibited.
Note: State laws are constantly changing. Contact an Ohio family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
If you'd like to read up on more information relating to Ohio's laws on annulments and prohibited marriages, feel free to click on the links to related resources listed below. Or, for more general information on annulment, marriage, and divorce, you can also check out FindLaw's family law section.
Research the Law
Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws in Ohio, including those related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages:
- At Ohio Law, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those relate 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.
Ohio Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws: Related Resources
Consider reviewing the following resources, as well, for more information about laws and legal issues related to prohibited marriages, civil annulments, and marriage in general:
Need More Help? Contact an Attorney Today
If you're considering an annulment or your marriage is legally invalid, it's always advised to speak with a qualified family law attorney near you. They can assist you with all legal issues related to these concerns.