In certain circumstances, a marriage can be ended through an annulment rather than a divorce. A clear set of factors have to take place in order to obtain an annulment, and even if you meet the requirements, your financial, business and childcare arrangements will still need to be finalised.

Unlike divorce, you can get an annulment at any time following a wedding, but cases aren’t always straightforward and you may have to go to court to give evidence. Annulments typically take four to six months to complete, however they may take longer if contested.

If you need help planning or agreeing an annulment, our solicitors can help. Our legal teams are experts at dealing with a wide range of family law issues, and our annulment lawyers understand that establishing both parties’ positions early on is of paramount importance to gauge whether annulment is a viable option

Our legal experts understand that annulments often come about in unusual circumstances so will work to understand your case and advise you on the best options available to you. You will need to go to court in order to get an annulment but this is nothing to worry about and we'll be by your side at every step of the process.

If you'd like to talk to an expert about getting an annulment, call us on 0345 604 4911, or contact us online today and we'll respond as quickly as possible.

Mediation Support Service – Free 30-Minute Consultation

Family mediation can be a less confrontational and more cost-effective way to resolve a dispute. We offer a free 30-minute consultation with one of our solicitors to discuss your situation and if mediation is right for you.

If you decide to go ahead with mediation, you can benefit from our cost effective mediation support service. This service will give you the advice, support and tools to get the best possible outcome – particularly if you’re representing yourself.

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Annulment - More Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Grounds For An Annulment?

If you are looking to get an annulment, you'll have to establish that a marriage was either non-valid (void) to start with, or was defective (voidable).

Marriages can be deemed non-valid (void) if partners:

  • Are closely related
  • Were underage - if one partner was under 16, for example
  • Were already married or in a civil partnership

Marriages can also be annulled on the defective (voidable) basis, meaning that the marriage will still be valid until a decree annulling the marriage is granted. Marriages can be annulled if:

  • One or both persons has an interim gender recognition certificate
  • Either partner was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of marriage
  • It wasn't consummated - the couple haven't had sex since the wedding due to incapacity or refusal (this doesn't apply for same-sex couples)
  • The marriage wasn't consented to – for instance, one or both persons were drunk or forcibly coerced
  • One or both persons had a sexually transmitted disease when the couple were married (not applicable to civil partnerships)
  • The woman was pregnant by another man prior to marriage

If you are facing the question of whether your marriage should be annulled we can support you through this difficult time. We will help you to access counselling or other support services and take steps to protect your best interests, always with sensitivity and in strict confidentiality.


What Is The Difference Between An Annulment And A Divorce?

Generally speaking, the effect of an annulment is that the marriage is declared void while a divorce effectively ends what was a valid marriage.

Annulments may be sought if there are religious reasons for not wanting a divorce. For instance, Catholics may choose to annul their marriage given this faith's stance on divorce.

Another key difference surrounds when either measure can be completed. Marriages can be annulled at any time following the wedding whereas in a divorce, partners have to wait for a minimum of a year before their separation can be made official.

Furthermore, you will have to make a court appearance for an annulment whereas this isn't always necessary in a divorce.

In some cases, annulments will only be granted within a certain time limit, so you should seek assistance from our specialist family law team as soon as possible. Either call us on 0345 604 4911, or you can contact us online and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

How Long Does An Annulment Take?

Should both partners agree to the annulment, the process typically takes between four to six months.

To get an annulment:

  • You need to complete a nullity petition for which there is a court fee of £550 (court fees are subject to change)
  • You need to make a Statement in Support for an application for a decree nisi/conditional order. Medical evidence may be required
  • Six weeks and one day from the decree nisi you can apply for a Decree of Nullity

A lot depends on the agreement element. If one partner objects to the annulment, the process will take longer as lawyers will need to source and provide extra evidence in court.



I live in Scotland, can Irwin Mitchell help me?

Our expert family law team works with a number of trusted partners to help our clients with family law issues in Scotland.

We’ll be your point of contact and manage the entire process for you throughout. You’ll get frequent progress updates and we’ll break down any legal jargon into plain English so you’re always in the loop.

To find out more about how we can help, give us a call on 0345 604 4911 or contact us online.

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