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There are two types of annulments - legal civil and religious. If you desire information regarding religious annulments, you should check with your churches' local representative. Roman Catholics can call the marriage tribunal at the Catholic Diocese of Erie or their parish. Other denominations should contact their local minister.

This message deals with legal civil annulments.

Some marriages may be void from the beginning and these marriages may be annulled in the following cases:

  1. If a party is already married and the prior marriage has not been terminated.
  2. When two parties are too closely related.
  3. If either party lacks the capacity to consent to the marriage.
  4. If either party to a common law marriage was less than 18 years of age.

Other marriages are voidable and thus, may be annulled in the following cases:

  1. Where either party is less than 16 years of age, unless the marriage was expressly authorized by the Court.
  2. In certain cases, if either party is 16 or 17 years of age.
  3. If either party was under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or drugs at the time of marriage, and annulment proceedings are instituted within 60 days.
  4. If either party is naturally or incurably impotent, and that condition was not disclosed to the other party prior to the marriage.
  5. If there has been inducement by fraud, duress, coercion, or force by either party, or no voluntary cohabitation after knowledge of or relief from the fraud, duress, coercion or force.

Annulments cannot be obtained by agreement of the parties; one of the specific grounds listed above must be established.  3/11

If you need to consult with an attorney or would like more information on an annulment, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.