Devoted exclusively to family law.

When an annulment is granted in Virginia, it establishes that the marriage never existed.

However, annulments are rarely granted in our state. If you must end your marriage and want to explore the possibility of an annulment, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney about your legal options. While you may be able to seek an annulment, we may find that divorce is a better choice based on your individual circumstances.

Is an annulment right for you?

While marriage annulment may or may not be an option for you, I can help you determine the most plausible way of ending your marriage.

Understanding Annulments in Virginia

An annulment is granted only under specific circumstances. Couples that do not meet the requirements for an annulment can still go through traditional divorce proceedings.

There are two types of marriage annulment in Virginia:

  • Void ab initio, which establishes that the marriage was never valid in the first place. An incestuous marriage, for example, is void ab initio and will be treated by the courts as if it never happened, regardless of how long ago the purported wedding ceremony took place. By the same token, a bigamous marriage is also void ab initio. If a previously married person remarries again, only to find out later that the divorce in the first marriage was never properly concluded, the first marriage will stand, and the second marriage, even if the parties have been together for decades, will be treated as if it never existed. For this reason, it is critical to make sure that a divorce, even if “amicable” and uncontested, is properly executed. A defective divorce can render a subsequent marriage void ab initio.
  • Voidable, which establishes that the marriage can be invalidated even if it was once considered lawful. A sham marriage entered into for the sole purpose of gaining immigration status in the U.S., for example, is voidable and can be annulled. A marriage can be voided on the ground of fraud if it was made based on an essential promise that was deliberately false when it was made. A party placed under duress or coerced into marriage (the proverbial shotgun wedding) can also obtain an annulment after the fact. So-called Vegas weddings—the stuff of comedy lore in our culture—in which a party was too intoxicated to know what he or she was doing can be voided. But remember, you may have a clock to beat—the statute of limitations. An annulment on the ground of fraud must be filed within two years of the date the complaining party learns of it.

Contact Christian Curtis to learn more about separation options.

Annulment isn’t always possible, but I help clients understand their full scope of family law and divorce options. To learn more about separation agreements and related topics, call my law firm at 703-879-7729.