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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    202 comments

    1. Pre Nup says:

      We have grounds for an annulment. We have a pre nup and a cohabitation aggreement. The prenup is much more in depth and as iron clad as it can get. Will an annulment void the prenup? I guess what I’m asking…would a divorce or annulment be better to return to a premarriage state without any chance for fighting over property? He cheated and i want out quick without him trying to take anything I’ve worked for. Thank you for your help.

    2. Lee Borden says:

      You ask a specialized and intensively fact-specific question that I’m uncomfortable answering without taking the time to understand your case, time for which I would need to charge you. I’m sorry.

    3. My husband and I have been married since 10/21/08…we had only been dating for a few weeks when we decided to get married. Everything is legal and we are indeed husband and wife. His ex (and the mother of his child) tortured him and said he could not see his child as long as he was w/me. Long story short…he finally gave in and is now back w/ her. He calls me all the time and say he loves me and wants to come home but feels so torn because his whole family will turn on him and he wont be able to see his baby girl.
      Now the ex tells me that she is bringing him to the courthouse tomorrow morning to file for an annulment…she says that he is going to claim that he was under the influence at the time he married me.
      My questions are
      1. Can he file for an annulment without my consent?
      2. Does he have to prove that he was under the influence? Can the Justice of the Peace verify that he was of sound mind?
      3. What can I do? At this point he will do whatever she says even though he does not want this because he does not want to lose his daughter. He calls me all the time and tells me this. I have an email he sent me to prove it.
      I would apprecitate any help you can give me…..
      AmFr

    4. Lee Borden says:

      1. Can he file for an annulment without my consent?
      Certainly, but that doesn’t mean the judge will grant an annulment.

      2. Does he have to prove that he was under the influence? Can the Justice of the Peace verify that he was of sound mind?
      If you argue that he was of sound mind, you will shift the burden of proof to him.

      3. What can I do? At this point he will do whatever she says even though he does not want this because he does not want to lose his daughter. He calls me all the time and tells me this. I have an email he sent me to prove it.
      You should get notice if your husband files for divorce, and you can oppose it. Alternatively, you can take the initiative and proceed with filing for divorce.

      I would apprecitate any help you can give me…..

    5. anonymous says:

      My father agreed to marry a woman about one year ago. They only lived together for about 4 months before she moved out. He was going to look to get an annulment as soon as she left but she convinced him that they would work it out. Along the way he’s found that she cheats, and though they have been married, she refuses to change her last name from her previous marriage (she won’t got get a new driver’s license or anything that shows proof that she now has his last name at all; in a matter of fact the only thing that ties them together is the marriage license; essentially nothing else has changed for her). Also she promised to move with him after the marriage, leaving her home and job behind and finding a new job in her field of work as soon as the marriage was done. Also, she promised that their financial state and finances would be joined together and put in the open so that they could have something together and Dad agreed as well. Sad to say after the marriage none of these things came to past. Also she has somewhat private investigated my Dad even before they saw each other for the first time (she has pictures of his home and cars taken way before they even met each other rather than over the phone. She has told him all of these things). My dad has asked for divorce several times, yet she seems to refuse to file. He is afraid 1. because he doesn’t have finances to pay for entire divorce alone 2. she will try to ask for something that she is not entitled to but if he can’t afford to fight it she will take these things. Does he have grounds for an annulment?

    6. peppermint patty says:

      Thank you for your help last night. Things worked out alright because today she took him to the courthouse and he called me and said that he was filing for a divorce instead of an annulment which is good news for me.
      My questions are:
      1. How do I fight the divorce?
      2. Can I get a judge to order counseling for us?

      Thank you so much for your quick responses…You are very kind.

    7. Lee Borden says:

      1. How do I fight the divorce?
      If your husband knows where you live, you will be served with a copy of the complaint. When you get it, make sure you and your lawyer file an answer responding to the specific allegations in the complaint.

      2. Can I get a judge to order counseling for us?
      Rarely happens. I’m sorry.

    8. Alexis says:

      I married my husband on 5/13/05… His divorce was ordered final on 5/16/05. I’m sure I have grounds for an annulment in Alabma. Do you know how long that process usually takes? I have his divorce papers.

    9. Mrs Yang says:

      My husband and I were married for 4 months and now he wants to annul the marriage because he said that he was diagnosed with bipolar and didn’t know what he was doing when he was signing the marriage contract. Is he able to annul the marriage on this basis that he has bipolar?

    10. Lee Borden says:

      I can’t speak for your judge, but if I were your judge, your husband would be out of luck unless he can show that you knowingly took advantage of his defective state of mind and manipulated him into a false and fundamentally flawed marriage. You don’t get out of a marriage you entered while manic any more than you get to decline to pay back a loan you signed.

    11. Melinda O'Connor says:

      I was married July 2008….caught my husband, sexually abusing my 7 yr old daughter (from previous relationship). He was arrested the very next day, and he pleaded guilty to 2 counts of sexual abuse on a child under 12…he has not yet been sentenced. I want an annulment. Do I have grounds? How do I go about doing this?

    12. Anonymous says:

      Can you got an annulment in Alabama for marriage fraud? My husband, lost his visa because of marriage fraud. With papers from USCIS can I obtain an annulment.

    13. Lee Borden says:

      I don’t know who is guilty of defrauding whom here, so I won’t venture to guess what it would mean for the marriage or separation of any of the parties involved.

    14. Love says:

      My fiancee filed for divorce in Alabama. He dosen’t want to wait to remarry. Alabama has a 60 day waiting period you have to wait to remarry after a divorce. He said he was told we can go to Georgia to get married. I want to know if we do this will our marriage be valid?

    15. Anonymousgrl says:

      My child’s father recently married this girl on March 3 in Shelby County, Alabama. He had the ceremony on April 10,2009. Now he’s calling me saying that he doesnt love her and felt pressured into marrying her because she was pregnant. He now wants an annulment or divorce. Is it too late for an annulment? What is the process that he has to undergo?

    16. Lee Borden says:

      He’s not the first one to feel “pressured” to marry someone who’s pregnant, but if he’s successful getting an annulment because of the pressure, he would be the first one I know to accomplish that. If he wants to end his marriage, he needs to get a divorce.

    17. Smith Jones says:

      Well I do have a question which is, Does the 60days waiting period to remarry apply to annulment? I mean since its not considered a divorce. Or can one be able to remarry right after the judge finalizes the annulment?

    18. Smith Jones says:

      The Probate court clerks are confusing me. I asked them the same question, and they told me that even if I get annulment, i would still have to wait for 60 days just like in divorce. The lady said it is treated the same way.

    19. Lee Borden says:

      Tell them some jackleg on the Internet told you he didn’t know why there would be a waiting period after an annulment, and would they please tell you the statute on which they’re relying so you can go rub it in his face.

    20. Heather says:

      Ok, I have a question. If you have gone through a divorce and realize that what you should have done is get an annulment….Can you still get an annulment? And would that wipe out the divorce/make the marriage null and void? Thank you!

    21. Lee Borden says:

      First, many people who think they are eligible for an annulment are mistaken, so you should do nothing until you confirm that you would be able to obtain an annulment. Second, after the appeal period has passed on a divorce, you can’t undo it, even if both spouses agree.

    22. Shannon says:

      Can I file for annulment if his child physically abused my child and he nor her mother will seek counseling for her anger issues? We have been married 7 months.

    23. Maria says:

      At the time of marriage I was unaware that my husban was homosexual. I have recently discovered. Is this (fraud) grounds for annulment? Thank you in advance.

    24. Mel says:

      Facts:
      Married 19 years
      Two kids
      Military spouse
      One previous relationship before marraige
      Married in WV at 16

      Question:

      Husband threatening divorce and mentioned annulment. I think annulment if not an issue to worry about. Am I correct? Please define fraud for me specifically. For example: I had almost developed cervical cancer caused by HPV 6 years after our marraige. Since I was not a virgin can he claim fraud for this reason? I didn’t even know what HPV was until after my first child was born and I had the issue come up. I have never had a problem with it since. Is this relevant?

    25. Lee Borden says:

      Nah. Quit worrying about annulment, Mel. You and your STBX may have yourselves one donnybrook of a divorce, but it’s not going to be an annulment.

    26. Mel says:

      Thanks for your clarification. 19 years is a really long time to be married with someone. This has been a particulary tough weekend for me with him. An arguement on Saturday where he left and did’t come home until 1030. Then said I was interagating and abusing him by asking him where he was.. Sunday everything I said or did was “abusive” to him. I asked him about somethings I read in the “Healthy Relationship” book and how they related to some of his behaviour and I basically started to be stonewalled. Monday I cried all day at my best friends house so my kids wouldn’t see how devastated I feel. Yesterday was my sons birthday. He first told me how unattractive I am to him when I got home from working out. Then he continued to on with his day as though nothing was wrong. I have gained weight because I developed Hypothyroidism. I work out everyday and do everything he asks. Then he drops on me that he knew this girl in hooters in colorado who had a thyroid problem, but she was thin. She was a waitress. I was not expecting this information for sure. I asked him how come a waitress would be telling you something like that and he was evasive. He just kept going on about trusting him. He didn’t trust me enought to say he was going to Hooters every TDY. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Is it okay for a husband to go to Hooters and not tell you. I’m sorry for all the rambling. This has been building up for several years and now I am just tired. Tired of his emotional abuse and his beratement. I am tired of his secretiveness and tired of feeling lesser than a worm in my own hom. Thanks for listening as I am sure it’s obvious I need someone to listen.

    27. Brittany says:

      The man I was dating had joined the airforce and got stationed in NJ. In order to go with him and live with him we had to be married. So we got married after only 6 months of dating. I realize now that I only did it so I could stay with him and now feel it was a huge mistake. Would that be considered being forced into it? Would it be terms for an annulment?

    28. kandi says:

      i have been married to my husband for 11 yrs now,a few yrs ago i found out that he is married to a girl in arizona what do i do to get an annulment n what do i do if he tries to contest it i’m no longer happy and don’t wanna be here any more and was told since we are not legally married all i have to do is get an annulment please give me some advice on what to do thank u ,Kandi

    29. Lee Borden says:

      By waiting years after you knew your husband was already married to someone else, you may have made it harder to obtain the relief you want.

      Although I think you’re right when you say “all i have to do is get an annulment,” you may find it’s far easier simply to divorce the man. Talk to your attorney and explain the situation. You may find out that getting an annulment makes the situation more complicated and that if all you want to do is end your marriage the easier (and cheaper) way to do it is to get a divorce.

    30. kandi says:

      if the marriage isn’t legal why do i have to have a divorce or an annulment why can’t i just move on he is commiting bigamy so our marriage isn’t legal so what do u suggest i do

    31. Lee Borden says:

      I disagree with your assumption that because your husband committed bigamy there is no marriage. I believe you are married, and you have the rights of a spouse against your husband, but the marriage is voidable by you. You seem to be hoping for some “annulment by operation of law” that makes your marriage void and ineffective from the moment of its inception. I know that would at this point be convenient for you, but it’s not the way this works.

    32. BB says:

      My son is living with a girl for a year now who has been married to someone else since October 2007. She is pregnant and there is a possiblity that she could be pregnant by her husband because she was supposedly trying to talk him into signing divorce papers at the time she became pregnant. She is bacically using my son financially and he is too naive to see this right now. She claims she has been trying to get a divorce all this time but has not done so because her husband wants to get back together with her. My questions are: Can she get a divorce now knowing she is pregnant, even though she says 100% it is my son’s child? Does Alabama state law require her husband’s name go on the birth certificate if she is still married when she has the baby? Doesn’t my son need to get a paternity test done not only to establish paternity, but so he can establish his rights to the baby if it is his and he wants to pursue custody? Actually, neither one of them are happy about her being pregnant and neither of them are the least bit prepared to care for or want to have this baby. I am concerned about my son getting taken to the cleaners if the baby isn’t his because she doesn’t want to have a paternity test for whatever reason. Please advise.

    33. Lee Borden says:

      Can she get a divorce now knowing she is pregnant, even though she says 100% it is my son’s child?
      Yes. They can reserve in the divorce documents for all issues concerning the unborn child.

      Does Alabama state law require her husband’s name go on the birth certificate if she is still married when she has the baby?
      I’m not aware of such a requirement.

      Doesn’t my son need to get a paternity test done not only to establish paternity, but so he can establish his rights to the baby if it is his and he wants to pursue custody?
      Yes, that would be the first step toward his pursuing any relationship with the child (or for that matter, his disposing of any duty to support the child if it turns out not to be his).

    34. Ed says:

      My former ex girlfriend, now wife is a foreign national who got pregnant in Aug 09. She was in the US on a student visa which she was in the process of defaulting on due to not attending college the following semester. I moved to Alabama 8/31/09. So she would not have to leave the country (on account of the school visa) with our child, we got married in Virginia on 10/13/09. Ten days later, she had a miscarriage. Her Visa expired on 11/25/09, but there is a 6 month grace period (to change status on account of marriage, a job etc.) before she has to leave the country. 11/30/09, I closed on my house. 12/5/09, she moved in. Since then, on account of her non resident status, she has been completely dependent on me. She is unable to legally work without a green card and work authorization (about $2000 of paperwork I’d have to file to sponsor her in the US).

      1. Annulment:
      Since male or female sterility, infertility and impotence ultimately refers to the inability to procreate, do I need evidence that she is unable or is this sufficient?

      2. Divorce:
      a – We both live in Alabama. Do we divorce here or in VA?
      b – How would assets be considered? Her intent, had we not gotten married, was to return home, overseas with her family. I read plenty on your site thus far, and there’s absolutely no joint ownership. I’m confused how any of this would even work seeing as though the only way she can stay in the country is trough my sponsorship.
      c – Do we have to be separated for a certain time period before divorce in AL?

    35. Lee Borden says:

      1. Annulment:
      Since male or female sterility, infertility and impotence ultimately refers to the inability to procreate, do I need evidence that she is unable or is this sufficient?
      Not sure what you’re asking. If it’s an immigration question, that’s not my gig. If you’re asking whether you can get an annulment because one of you is impotent, the answer is no.

      2. Divorce:
      a – We both live in Alabama. Do we divorce here or in VA?
      In Alabama.

      b – How would assets be considered? Her intent, had we not gotten married, was to return home, overseas with her family. I read plenty on your site thus far, and there’s absolutely no joint ownership. I’m confused how any of this would even work seeing as though the only way she can stay in the country is trough my sponsorship.
      Again, you seem to be thinking the immigration issues are going to make the family law issues dramatically different, and I know of no reason why that would be true.

      c – Do we have to be separated for a certain time period before divorce in AL?
      No, but you must be separated when you file.

    36. charly says:

      I’ve been married 3 mos to a officer in the military. He is in korea at the moment. The marriage was hasty and feel that it was a huge mistake. I found some emails that he wrote stating that he only married me to have someone to go to korea with. Also, he recieves 2,000 dollars a month extra for my expenses in the states. I’ve never recieved any money from him and bases on the email i believe he only married me to recieve monitary gain. Would this qualify as fraud? Further more do you think i should be entitled to some of the money her recieved FOR me? Would annulment or divorce be in my best interest?

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