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.

    193 thoughts on “Annulment of Marriage in Alabama”

    1. It might qualify as fraud, but I would be surprised if it would entitle you to an annulment. You may or may not choose to end your marriage, but if you do, my guess is that you’ll end up getting a divorce, not an annulment.

    2. Please define “of sound mind” and “the contract of marriage”..specifically what does the contractof marriage consist of (ie adherence to wedding vows?)

      I am now divorced from a mentally ill man who has now admitted to never being faithful…so, I was never married??? that is my definition.

    3. Lee,
      My step-daughter is planning to marry soon. The man she is marrying has been living with a woman and her two children for several years. He initially married this woman because her husband (his best friend) died and had asked him to promise to take care of his family. He bought a high-end mobile home for her and the children and eventually moved in himself to reduce some of the financial burden. He eventually moved in to the bedroom with her. Over the years he has paid the bills, provided for the children (including paying for vehicles for each of them when they became old enough to drive), etc. For the past five or six years, there has been no relationship between he and this woman. However, he has continued to live in the mobile home, pay the bills, etc. He has never referred to this woman as his “wife” and never thought of her in this manner. There has been no “husband-wife” agreement at any time. Taxes have never been filed jointly. He has never thought of or referred to her as “Mrs. XXXXX.” And he has never considered them to be married (common law or any other way). He is a good man and plans to pay the mobile home off and, of course, leave her and her two grown children their vehicles. Two of the three vehicles are paid for and he plans to continue making the payments on the third one until it is paid in full. My question is this: After living with this woman for fifteen years, even though it has never been considered a marriage, can he just walk out and marry my step-daughter or does the law require a divorce or other formality to end this relationship prior to his marrying my step-daughter? I have done a quite extensive amount of research online and there is very little available on the subject of co-habitation in the state of Alabama. Thanks so much for your help

    4. I’m confused. You say this man “initially married” the woman with whom he has been living but that he has never considered himself married. How could that be? It sounds like he needs to get a divorce. And you didn’t ask me this, but it also sounds like someone (perhaps your stepdaughter) is being played for the fool.

      Again, you didn’t ask me this, but if this young lady were someone for whom I cared deeply, I would advise her to stop seeing or interacting with this man until he has his own home, his own bed, and a signed divorce decree.

    5. Lee,
      I didn’t mean to use the term “initially married.” He truly has never considered himself married to this woman. I am normall a very skeptical individual, but I have come to believe that he truly is in love with my stepdaugter. He recently had a friend to die from cancer and he took care of everything as the friend had no family. I believe he would already have moved out had it not been for the time and effort involved in the care of his friend, taking his ashes to his hometown (VA) after his death, and taking care of the sale of his trailer, etc. after his death. He has also been helping my stepdaughter with her rent, phone, etc for over a year as she is a single mother and holds down two jobs just to make ends meat. In all fairness, the man is (in my opinion) trying to do what is right by the woman he has been living with and her children while, at the same time, creating a life for himself with the woman he loves (my stepdaughter). He advised the woman he is living with several months ago that he was in love with someone and would be moving out and getting married as soon as he could take care of Henry’s (his friends) business and make all the financial arrangements. He felt it was only fair to her to advise her ahead of time that she would no longer be able to count on him to be the sole provider of her and her grown children.

      He and my stepdaughter had planned on getting married at the court house today, with a small wedding ceremony to be held on the 26th at my daughter’s house. He currently visits at my stepdaughter’s house but will not stay overnight until they are married. My grand-daughter is nine and they both feel that it is inappropriate for him to stay overnight until after they are married – I decision I respect both of them for.

      As a final note, he is having divorce papers drawn up just to be on the safe side even though he has never considered himself and the other woman married. I noticed in some of the earlier posts on your site the mention of a “60 day waiting period” to marry after a divorce in Alabama. Does this apply in this case also? I assume it does. Thanks so much.

    6. What if he is Bi-Polor & it is unsafe for me to stay with this person? We have only been married for a little over a month.

    7. I think you’re asking whether the fact that my spouse is bipolar and violent is grounds for annulment. It sounds like a really good reason for divorce, but not grounds for annulment.

    8. A friend mine lives in Fl, her husband in Al .( had been seperated for 5 yrs)..they were divoriced july 8, 2010 in Al…..she then married her boyfriend on July 20, 2010, in Al… neither realising there was a 60 day law. He was terminaly ill and passed away on Aug. 8 , 2010, it was his dying wish to marry her before he died. His daughters got the judge to void the marriage…does she have any grounds to fight the “marriage Voided issue” due to it being a dying wish????

    9. Your friend needs to hire a good Alabama family lawyer. I’m not aware of any principle that a marriage entered into within 60 days of either party’s divorce is void. Read this post – http://www.divorceinfo.com/al60dayrule.htm. She has clearly violated the statute. However, it does NOT necessarily follow that the marriage she and her husband entered into is either void or voidable. It’s possible that the judge who voided the marriage was searching for some way to help the daughters, but it’s not at all clear to me that he or she had the authority to do so.

    10. Goodmorning. my wife and i got married in Mobile,AL the 1st of sept 2010. After the marriage a few weeeks after she says she has something to tell me but she is afraid that i wont want to be with her anymore. She tells me she has Hepititis “C”
      Before we got married we would have sex with a condom and she asked that i not use a condom and i didnt any more. Now after we get married she tells me what i stated before. I tried to look past it but i cant because i feel as if she was trying to trap me. Is this grounds for an annulment in AL?

    11. Hello i got married on Dec 11 2010 to a man i hardly knew stupid i know however i was pressured into it by his family as well as mine i have never been married before anyway shortly after i married him he got into trouble with drinking and driving and was sent to jail where I later found out he was on probation for simple assult on an ex girlfriend he was sent back to prison. I was completely in the dark about the whole problem he had with the law what can i do can i get an annulment or even a divorce without him having to sign anything im so confused

    12. You don’t have grounds for an annulment. You’ll need to file for divorce. If you know where he lives, you’ll need to get service of process on him and force him either to respond to the service with an answer or ignore it, in which case you can proceed to get a divorce by default.

    13. My husband and I got married about a month ago, last week he decided that I didn’t disclose to him that i date a guy 4 years ago. This information was in the past and not his business. He has stated that he can’t trust me anymore every day for about 10 days, he comes home angry at me. He mentioned that he should get an anulment. is this ground for an anulment. He states that he made a mistake.

    14. Hello Mr. Bowden. I have found your posts quite insightful. Thank you! One question- if my husband and I married before the 60 day waiting period had concluded, are we legally married?

    15. Good question, simple answer. If you and your husband married before the 60 day waiting period elapsed, you may have broken the law, but your marriage is valid and binding.

    16. What if I thought my so called husband was marrying me for the right reasons and I found out he only married me for insurance reasons and he has not even told his Mother or son about it? Is that reason for annulment due to deception?

    17. I have a friend who married a guy July 2007. They had two children during the marriage. He was married to another woman when he married my friend. His first wife filed for divorce in Sept 2007. The divorce was finalized June 18 2008. Can my friend file for annulment? Can her so-called husband be prosecuted for bigamy? All of this took place in Alabama.

    18. Yes, your friend can file for annulment, although divorce would probably cost less and free her faster. Yes, her husband could be prosecuted for bigamy, although I don’t know who would take the initiative to make it happen. Assuming your friend has the same desire to end her marriage that you do, she needs to decide which priority is more important. She can devote scarce and valuable resources to hurting her husband or to ending her marriage. If she tries to do both, she will need to devote many more scarce and valuable resources.

    19. Im looking into getting an annulment my husband and i have been married for a year and a half. When we got married we were made to feel like we had to because I got pregnant outside of marriage. Now that people have backed off we know it wasnt right and if people had left us alone we wouldnt have got married we want out. do you think we can get an annulment?

    20. I have a question I have only been married for 3 days and my husband is now acting as though he owns me How can I look into getting out of this marriage before it gets worse

    21. You have every right (and perhaps good reason) to leave this man and eventually to divorce him, but I see no reason why you would be entitled to an annulment.

    22. I am a 53 year old woman who has been married for 5 years. Everything about the man I married was a lie. He has been a drug addict for more than 15 years. I was unaware of this and I specifically asked him if he had ever taken drugs or had any dependencies (ie. -alchol or drug abuse). My father was an alcoholic and I made it very clear to him that I would NEVER marry a man with addiction issues. After we were married I found out that he was an addict and had been for a long time. No one in the community knew of his addiction. I feel stupid for not recognizing the symptoms but he is quite the con man. I tried to rehabilitate him by building his self esteem by sending him to college, encouraging him to attend celebrate recovery, church, etc. I want to be free of any bond/link with this man. Can I get an annulment based on fraud? Everything about him and his past has been a lie.

    23. No, I’m sorry. In order to constitute grounds for annulment, the fraud must go to the grounds for marriage, not to the personalities or traits of the spouses.

    24. I got married in 05 at the age of 14 we have been.separted since 09 i need to know what i need to do he was married in mexico when we got married is it time for a divorce or a annulment and what are the steps and aboit how long.does it take thank u lee

    25. If you and your husband are cooperative. figure $1000 or less, and complete within 6-8 weeks. If you’re not cooperative, it’s hard to say how long and how much it might cost, because no one can predict how soon you might reach agreement.

    26. I have a very important question?
      This illegal hispanic married me Only to get his Papers to make him Legal
      We went through an Immigration Attorney and she sends me a letter that plainly states. Our marriage is “VOID” because he is already married in Mexico.
      So needless to say, he never got a Divorce from her
      Now I’m stuck, Can I get an Annulment?
      Im.in Alabama, and am Lost
      I did Not know he was already Married
      He also used a Fake Green Card to marry me. Oh its too much for my Brain!
      I’m sure they have it on record in the Houston County Administration
      I want this Annulled, as I have all the Evidence at Hand!
      This has been 10 years ago ; (((*

      I want this Over with. Ty

    27. My husband is verbally and physically abusive and it has gotten worse. He has trouble controlling anger and it all started after we got married. We have only been married 7 months and have a child who is 6 months. He now tells me that he only married me because I was pregnant not because of love. Do I have grounds for an annulment? I have it recorded him saying it. Also what would I have to do to try to get full custody?

    28. Im 19 and married. Ive been married for a year and my husband abandoned me and is dating another girl. What do I do?

      1. If you’re wondering whether you’re eligible for an annulment, the answer is no. It sounds like you need to divorce.

    29. When he and i got married, he was very much drugged up. He realized he made a mistake 3 and a half months later and now wants an annulment or divorce. If he was pharmaceutically imparred during the ceremony and a few months thereafter from an accident he had injuring his back, can we get an annulment?

      1. I honestly don’t know. The challenge he would face is convincing a trier of fact that he could be lucid, aware, and functional enough to sign a marriage license and do all the post-nuptial partying that typically happens, yet so impaired that he cannot be said to have agreed to be married. It’s a tough course to run. If I were he, I would just get a divorce, which is cheaper, faster, and more certain.

    30. I am pretty sure this would not count for an annulment, but how to go by a divorce. Husband is incarcerated. Married In prison. Incarcerated for 21 years. Married 2years. I am just finding out the reason for his crime is not the one he told me about. I feel deceived. I knew this man but lost contact and was unaware of his real reason for incarceration. Is there a certain step to file for divorce while he is incarcerated.

      1. You’re right that this is not an annulment case. It’s pretty simple to serve a prisoner, and imprisonment is grounds for divorce in AL.

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