Annulment is a term used in America, meaning to declare a marriage null and void. In Australia a person must apply for a "decree of nullity of marriage" on the grounds that the marriage is void.
An Application of this type will only be granted in limited circumstances:
- One of the parties involved was already married to another person (bigamy);
- The parties are involved in a prohibited relationship (for example, due to the parties being related by blood or through adoption);
- There are legal requirements that were not met at the time of the marriage (for example, the marriage celebrant was not properly qualified or authorised);
- The consent of one of the parties was not real consent; or
- One of the parties was not old enough to marry and did not have the necessary consents to do so.
A person's consent will not be real if it was obtained by duress or fraud or if one party did not have legal capacity at the time of the marriage to understand the nature of the marriage ceremony. Duress in this respect must generally involve a threat of force or actual force. Fraud must involve being mistaken as to the identity of the other person or the fact that you were actually getting married.
Where someone has misrepresented themself or their motives for marrying the other person, this is unlikely to be enough to satisfy the requirements for the marriage to be declared void.
If your situation does not satisfy one of the grounds above then you will need to obtain a standard Divorce to end your marriage. To apply for a divorce you must first be separated from your spouse for 12 months.
At Andersons, we have a team of highly experienced solicitors who are happy to help you with any any of your queries or concerns about Family Law.