I receive calls from people asking if they can get an Annulment, often because they have not been married very long.
Annulments are very uncommon in DC. An Annulment is a ruling from the court that your marriage was not valid.
It is as if the marriage never took place. This is different from a Divorce which ends your marriage, but your marriage is still considered valid.
To seek an Annulment in DC, there is no residency requirement if your marriage was performed in DC.
This means that you can file for an Annulment if your marriage was performed in DC but you do not live in DC. You can also file in DC if one of you lives here but were married outside DC. To file for Divorce in DC, there is a residency requirement.
One of you must be a resident of the District of Columbia for at least six months prior to filing for Divorce. For a Divorce, it does not matter where you were married, you can still file in DC if you meet the residency requirement.
You can file for an Annulment in very specific situations and you must have very good proof.
In several situations your marriage is considered void from the day you are married, i.e. if you marry a close relative or if one of you is already married to someone else. However, you still may want to seek a Court Order of Annulment so you have proof the marriage was not valid.
You can request an Annulment if any of the following is true:
- you married each other when one or both of you was already married to someone else.
- you married a close relative, such as a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, etc.
- you married someone who was mentally incapacitated, unless you voluntarily lived with that person after you discovered the incapacity;
- you were forced to marry or there was fraud involved;
- you or your spouse was under the age of 16 when you married, unless you voluntarily lived together as husband and wife after the age of 16.
You will probably need to file for a Divorce in DC rather than an Annulment because the grounds for Annulment are rare.
It is best to speak to a Divorce Attorney who can give you advice regarding your specific situation.