Annulment of Marriage in Alabama

I get about a question a week from people who have realized soon after their wedding vows that this was all a big mistake. Their usual question is whether they can get an annulment instead of a divorce, because they’ve been married such a short time.

Sorry. It just doesn’t work that way. A marriage must have several elements to be a valid marriage. Both parties must be age 14 or greater. The parties must be of sound mind and have the ability to agree to the contract of marriage. The parties may not be first cousins or of closer relationship.

Annulment is available if one of these essential elements is missing. The most frequent successful reason for annulment is that one of the spouses was still married to someone else at the time the couple said “I do.”

Annulment is not available on these grounds:

  • We haven’t been married very long.
  • My spouse deceived me about his or her finances, or virginity, or family, or criminal record.
  • We never consummated our marriage. We never had sex together.
  • We never actually lived together.
  • When grounds for an annulment do exist, the cost for uncontested annulment tends to be a tad higher than for uncontested divorce. For example, my charge for an uncontested annulment is $100 more than for an uncontested divorce. It happens a little faster than uncontested divorce (about two weeks after filing vs. six weeks after filing for a divorce). Annulment happens faster because there’s no 30 day waiting period required.

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