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Obtaining an Annulment in Kentucky

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If you were recently married, but have decided that you don’t want to continue to be married, you may be considering what your options are to end the marriage. Perhaps you’re considering an annulment, but aren’t sure if your marriage qualifies. Annulment has a very different legal significance from obtaining a divorce. While divorce is a way of ending a legally valid marriage, annulment is essentially wiping the slate entirely clean, making it so that, in the eyes of the law, the marriage never existed. Annulment can also eliminate the possibility of obtaining spousal support, and can alter the process of dividing property from what it would be if you divorced.

Annulment is only available under very limited circumstances in Kentucky, and the time frame within which you need to obtain an annulment can be narrow. The major grounds for annulling a marriage in Kentucky are as follows:

*One of the spouses committed fraud in regards to a fact going to the essentials of the marriage—for example, a spouse said she wished to have children when she did not, or said that she was pregnant with the other spouse’s child when she was not.

*One spouse used duress, or threat of physical force, to coerce a spouse into marriage

*One or both spouses was under 16, or was over 16 but under 18 and did not obtain the necessary parental consent prior to marriage

*The spouses were related more closely than second cousins

*The marriage was bigamous due to one of the spouses being in another valid marriage at the time of the wedding

*There was a lack of consent due to mental illness, incapacity, or serious intoxication at the time of the marriage

*One spouse was physically incapable of consummating the marriage or having children

*One of the spouses was deemed mentally incompetent by a Kentucky court of law

Depending on the grounds for annulment which apply, the time limit by which you must file a petition for annulment will vary. After learning of the reason for the annulment, a spouse will have 90 days to file for an annulment based on duress, fraud, physical incapacity, or lack of consent. For annulments based on bigamy, incest, incompetence, or underage marriages, a spouse will have one year from the time of learning the facts providing the grounds for annulment. However, if underage spouses are cohabiting after reaching age 18, the grounds for annulment will no longer exist.

If you would like to speak with an experienced practitioner of Kentucky family law about whether you qualify for an annulment, contact Louisville divorce and family law firm John Ruby & Associates for a consultation on your case, at 502-895-2626.