What is an annulment?
An annulment is a court order, which declares that a marriage never existed. Annulments are rare and only granted in unusual circumstances, namely when a judge finds that the marriage itself was void (invalid) at the time it was entered.
On what grounds can I receive an annulment?
There are several grounds for an annulment in Georgia, including:
- you and your spouse are related by blood or marriage
- you did not have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage contract
- you were under the age of 16 when you entered into your marriage
- you were forced to enter into the marriage
- you were fraudulently induced to enter into the marriage, and
- your spouse was married to another living spouse at the time you entered into the marriage.
May I be granted an annulment if I have only been married a short time?
No. The fact that you and your spouse have only been married a short time is not a proper ground for an annulment. If you do not satisfy one of the conditions listed above, then you must file a petition for divorce to dissolve your marriage.
How long does an annulment take?
An order granting an annulment can be issued by a judge 30 days after the other person has been served with your “Petition for Annulment” (legal paperwork requesting annulment) and has failed to contest or answer the petition.
May I obtain an annulment if I have had or will have children with my spouse?
If there are children already born (or about to be born) of the purported marriage, then the general rule is that an annulment will not be granted. If you and your spouse do have children, and you believe that you satisfy the requirements for an annulment, you should speak with an attorney.
May I receive alimony if my marriage is annulled?
You may request an award of temporary alimony. However, you cannot request an award of permanent alimony. Alimony can be awarded only pursuant to a divorce.
How long do I have to wait before I can get married again?
You can remarry any time after the Court issues a final order granting an annulment.
Why would I ever need to file for an annulment?
Although a divorce and annulment both have the same end result, which is to dissolve (terminate) a marriage, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened. For some, divorce also carries a stigma, which they want to avoid. And finally, for others, religious reasons support their decision to have an annulment (for example, they may not be able to get married in a church if they’ve been divorced).
Void marriages, Ga.Code.Ann., § 19-3-5
Grounds for Annulment and the effect of birth of children, Ga.Code.Ann., § 19-4-1
Procedure for Annulment, Ga.Code.Ann., § 19-4-4