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West Virginia Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

When you're planning your wedding you're thinking of the person you love, not the legal system that might not allow you to get married. While some marriages are prohibited entirely, others can be ruled invalid, or “annulled," after the fact. Here is a quick introduction to laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages in West Virginia.

Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages

State laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages may vary. West Virginia law permits civil annulments if one party has not had a previous marriage dissolved, has a sexually transmitted infection, or is impotent. It also prohibits marriages between closely related family members.

Civil Annulments in West Virginia

The details of West Virginia's laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages are below.

Prohibited Marriages

Grounds for Annulment

Under West Virginia Code 48-3-103, marriages may be civilly annulled for the following reasons:

  • Undissolved previous marriage
  • Spouses are closely related family members
  • Insanity of one or both spouses
  • Sexually transmitted infection or disease (STIs or STDs)
  • Impotence
  • One or both of the parties was underage at the time of the marriage
  • One of the spouses has an "infamous offense" on their criminal record from prior to the marriage
  • A wife bears the child of another man
  • One of the spouses had been a prostitute

Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment


Legitimacy of Children

Same-Sex Marriage in West Virginia

West Virginia is one of many states that legalized same-sex marriages before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that universally legalized same-sex marriages in 2015. While the state has a statute defining marriage as between a man and a woman, the state Attorney General decided to no longer defend the state against a lawsuit brought by three same-sex couples in 2014. As a consequence of the Attorney General's decision in this case, same-sex marriages quickly became legal in the state. State agencies followed suit and began recognizing same-sex marriages.

This decision found nationwide support following Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, where the U.S. Supreme Court found that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. FindLaw's Same-Sex Marriage section has the latest developments in same-sex marriage law.

On December 13, 2022, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act, which codified laws related to protections for same-sex marriage.

Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages in West Virginia

Marriage can be a serious decision, both emotionally and legally. FindLaw's sections on West Virginia Family LawAnnulment, and Divorce can provide you with additional articles and resources on this topic. You can also consult with a West Virginia divorce attorney in your area if you would like legal help regarding a marriage or annulment matter.

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