What are Annulments in the UK?
Updated: Aug 12
What is an annulment in the UK?
An Annulment (aka, Nullity) is how a marriage is dissolved by declaring it to be null and void, or declaring it was never legally valid.
Unlike divorce, an annulment can be requested within the first year of marriage or at any time after that. However, if a person applies for annulment many years after the marriage, they may be asked to provide an explanation as to why it took them so many years to try to annul the marriage.
For an annulment, the applicant must show that either:
The marriage was never legally binding.
The marriage was legally valid but is voidable (this can be due to a variety of reasons, all of which will be detailed later on in the article)
We will elaborate on both of the above reasons later in the article.
How is an annulment different from a divorce?
There is a common perception that annulment and divorce are the same thing. But there is an important difference between these two terms. Divorce refers to a legal process of ending a marriage.
On the other hand, annulment refers to a declaration that the marriage was never legally valid, making it null and void. After an annulment, it is as if the marriage never happened in the first place.
For a divorce, the court will never question the legal validity of the marriage as it just is the process of ending a marriage. Also, to apply for a divorce, the couple must have been married for at least a year. However, for an annulment, this is not necessary and annulments can be filed for at any time after the marriage.
What counts as grounds for annulment? When can I annul my marriage?
The following are some of the reasons why a marriage can be annulled because it isn't legally valid:
At the time of the marriage, both or one of the parties involved were under the age of 18 (or under the age of 16 of the marriage happened before 17th February 2023)
At the time of the marriage, one of the parties were civilly partnered or married to someone else.
If the couple are closely related
If any of these are true, the marriage is not legally valid, and the marriage will be easily annulled.
Here are some reasons that a marriage can be annulled because it is legally voidable:
Due to either refusal or inability to do so, the marriage was not consummated.
At the time of marriage, the wife was pregnant with someone else’s child, and the husband was unaware
One of party did not consent to the marriage (ie, if they were under the influence of alcohol at the time of marriage)
At the time of the marriage, one of the partners had an STI.
If one of the partners is in the process of transitioning to a different gender
How can I get an annulment?
As opposed to a divorce, filing for annulment does not require a year of waiting , and annulments can be filed for at any time after the marriage happens.
Firstly, you must fill a nullity application form. We at Court Help Limited can help you with this by drafting the form for you and guiding you through the process for a small fee, give us a call at 07375757510 or fill in the Contact Form at the very bottom of the page.
The Court Fees (which are charged by the Courts, NOT by legal companies) for an annulment are £593. But if you are in a situation where you are unable to pay these court fees due to a low or no income, you can file for financial help with the courts.
After completing the form, you should keep one copy for yourself and send two copies to the following address: ADD ADDRESS
After submitting the application, the court will send a notice to the applicant telling them that the application has been issued.
If the court decides that the marriage should be annulled, they will send something called a "decree of nullity" to the applicant. This decree will essentially confirm that the marriage was never, or is no longer legally valid.
How long does an annulment take?
The annulment process should take around 6 to 8 months if the reasons for annulment are valid and the case is uncontested. The exact time frame will depend on the specific details of a case and how complex it is.
Can an annulment be contested?
Yes. An annulment application can be contested if one of the parties believes that the marriage is valid. They can therefore dispute the application and defend the marriage in court.
Do you need to go to court to have a marriage annulled?
Though you need to apply to the courts to annul a marriage, you will not always be required to physically go to the court to have the marriage annulled.
But if someone's spouse decides to object to the annulment and contest it in court as they believe the marriage is valid, this will lead to a court hearing.
How much does an annulment cost in the UK?
The Court Fees for the application form for annulment is £593. (Note: If someone is unable to pay these court fees due to financial difficulties they can apply to the courts for a lowered charge)
Can an Annulment of Marriage order be reversed?
No, as once the annulment is finalized it will be as if the marriage was never valid or never happened, as it is no longer legally valid.
Even though it cannot be reversed, if the parties involved wanted to undo the annulment, then they could marry each other again.
How we can help you with Annulments?
We at Court Help Limited are specialized in family law by drafting statements and applications. Our legal team has rich experience and knowledge to assist you in the documentation and paperwork involved in such cases. We also specialize in various family law matters such as child custody, divorce settlement, domestic violence, etc.
To know more about annulments in England, check out some of our other related articles which are available here.
In case you are facing issues related to family law matters, do not hesitate to contact us. You can read our reviews here. At the bottom of the page you can find our Quick Contact Form, you can fill it out or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 07375757510.
Note: This article is not a piece of legal advice and must not be treated as legal advice.