Overview

Overview

Contents

Why nullity?

If your marriage or civil partnership was never legally valid ('void') or is capable of being declared legally invalid ('voidable') you are entitled to approach the court for an annulment.

If you get an annulment on the basis that your marriage or civil partnership was void, from a legal point of view it will be as though your marriage or civil partnership never happened.

On the other hand, if you get an annulment because your marriage or civil partnership is voidable, it will be regarded as having validly existed until the date of the annulment court order.

When can you get an annulment?

There is no minimum period that needs to pass before you are allowed to apply for an annulment.

However, the court will not in some cases grant it on the ground that the marriage or civil partnership was voidable:

Your spouse or civil partner may be able to convince the court that your behaviour led them to reasonably believe that you wouldn't seek a nullity and that it would be unjust to grant it.

If you apply for a nullity on the ground that an interim gender recognition certificate under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 has been issued to either of you since the date of the marriage or civil partnership, it won't be granted if more than 6 months have passed since the date of that certificate.

The court will also reject your application if you apply for a nullity more than 3 years after the date of your marriage or civil partnership on any of the following grounds:

  • There was no valid consent to the marriage or civil partnership due to duress, a mistake, unsound mind or otherwise.
  • You were both capable of giving valid consent to the marriage or civil partnership, but at the time, either one of you was suffering from a mental disorder that made you unfit for marriage or civil partnership.
  • At the time of the marriage, you were unaware that your spouse was suffering from a venereal disease in a communicable form (not applicable to civil partnerships).
  • At the time of the marriage or civil partnership, you were unaware that your spouse or civil partner was pregnant by someone else.
  • At the time of the marriage or civil partnership, you were unaware that your spouse or civil partner's gender had become the acquired gender under the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Jurisdiction

All aspects relating to jurisdiction discussed in the Divorce or dissolution section also apply to annulments. See Jurisdiction for more information.