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The Law and You: Annulment of marriage

Watts McCray Lawyers

wife and husb?nd doodles in divorce process concept broken  from www.shutterstock.comIs an annulment of a marriage at law the same as a divorce? Many think so but it’s not the case.

What is the difference between divorce and annulment?

Divorce—ending a marriage because of irretrievable breakdown.

Annulment—a declaration by the Court that the marriage is void because it was never valid in the first place.

What are the grounds for a legal annulment?

There are five grounds are set out in Australia’s Marriage Act:

  1. Either party was still lawfully married to another person at the time of marriage.
  2. The parties are directly related to one another—as parent and child or brother and sister.
  3. The formal requirements for the marriage ceremony were not properly carried out.
  4. One party has not given proper consent to the marriage because they were under duress, have mistaken the identity of the person to whom they were marrying, have mistaken that an actual marriage ceremony was performed, or because of fraud.
  5. Either party is not old enough to get married by law.

How old do you have to be to get married?

The ordinary age to be married in Australia is 18, although if a person is between 16 and 18 years of age they may be authorised by a Judge to marry under exceptional circumstances Not many cases in Australia have been successful, however. It is very rare for a Court to give such consent.

Is there a difference between an annulment by a Court and an annulment under Church law?

Yes. The Court and Church look at different criteria when deciding if a marriage can be annulled Different faiths have different procedures. A Church tribunal looks at detailed and specific grounds to determine if parties entered into the marriage in the way their faith expects. You can source more information on requirements from a leader of the relevant faith.

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Image of wife and husband doodles in divorce process concept broken  from


Watts McCray Lawyers

Watts McCray is a leading firm of family and relationship lawyers. We have the largest number of accredited family law specialists in Australia and are backed by years of experience. Our lawyers have the skills to provide you with sound, practical advice about issues such as relationship changes and separation, property and financial matters, parenting arrangements after separation, child support and divorce. Watts McCray can also provide you with legal help if you want to resolve matters without having to go through Court. We can help with negotiation, mediation, collaboration and arbitration services as well as the traditional Court litigation process. We can also help with your estate planning and wills. Call us on (02) 6257 6347 for more information and for tailored services to meet your specific legal needs. More about the Author

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