Though it may seem simple, the legal proceedings surrounding marriage actually have strict rules, with each state having 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, where a 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 Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws
The following chart lists additional details on Oklahoma laws regarding annulment and prohibited marriage. See FindLaw's Marriage Law section to learn more.
|Grounds for Annulment
- A marriage where one party had not been divorced for six months is a ground for annulment of marriage by either party (43 O.K. Stat. § 43-126)
- When either party to a marriage shall be incapable, from want of age or understanding, of contracting such marriage, the same may be declared void by the district court or in an action brought by the incapable party or by the parent or guardian of such party; cohabitation after such incapacity ceases and is a defense to any such action (43 O.K. Stat. § 43-128)
|Legitimacy of Children
- Children of an annulled marriage are legitimate (43 O.K. Stat. § 43-128)
- For inheritance purposes, a child born out of wedlock stands in the same relation to their parents and kindred as if that child had been both in wedlock (84 O.K. Stat. § 215)
- Minors under the age of 16 are forbidden and prohibited from entering into the marriage relation except when authorized by the court; no marriage may be authorized if the marriage would be incestuous (43 O.K. Stat. § 43-3)
- Every contract in restraint of the marriage of any person, other than a minor, is void (15 O.K. Stat. § 15-220)
- Polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited (O.K. Const. Art. 1 § 2)
- Bigamous marriages are not allowed, but there are certain exceptions when: (1) the party's spouse by a former marriage has been absent for five successive years without being known to such person within that time to be living, or (2) a party's spouse by former marriage has absented themself from their spouse and has been continually remaining without the United States for a space of five years together, or (3) a person by reason of any former marriage which has been pronounced void, annulled or dissolved by the judgment of a competent court, or (4) to any person by reason of any former marriage with a spouse who has been sentenced to imprisonment for life (21 O.K. Stat. § 21-882)
- Persons who, being within a certain degree of consanguinity to one another, are guilty of an incestuous and void marriage and can be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 10 years (21 O.K. Stat. § 21-885)
|The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) established that bans on same-sex marriages in any state violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, legalizing same-sex marriage in every state, including Oklahoma.
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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Oklahoma Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws: Related Resources
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 separation and give legal advice using the relevant laws of your jurisdiction as guidance.
Get started by speaking to a local family law attorney today.