The Same Maryland Courts Which Decide Divorce Can Grant an Annulment
Annulment and divorce are different. I think most people recognize that, I frequently get calls from people wanting an annulment who really want/get a divorce instead. The State of Maryland only permits annulments under narrowly defined and extremely rare circumstances.
I have referenced that in a previous article but wan to emphasize again that the brevity of the marriage does not entitle a spouse to annulment. People ask “but can my divorce take longer to get than the period I was living together and married?” Yes, in fact I have seen it several dozen times at least.
Annulment has both secular and religious meanings, methods and implications. With respect to the law of the state, annulment is very similar to divorce in its effect. The definition of annulment from a Maryland legal standpoint would be when a divorce court declares that a couple’s marriage is “void, a nullity “nunc pro tunc” :back to the beginning.
The effect of either an annulment or divorce from a legal standpoint is that “the parties are free to conduct their respective lives completely and wholly independent of the other party. The difference is that nunc pro tunc language. In divorce the marriage is voided, in annulment the marriage is and was void.
An illustration of the distinction between annulment and divorce in the secular state legal world can be found by analogy in contract law. That is appropriate because Maryland views a marriage as a contract.
Take for example divorce.
Like a divorce, a court deciding a contract case can nullify a contract for non-payment, non-performance etc. Like a divorce this can be decided by the court based upon bilateral or unilateral wrong doing of the contracting parties. In the nature of divorce the contract court is dissolving or nullifying the contract for a cause(s).
If a party comes before the court in a contract case and proves they did not have the capacity to enter a contract (they were under 18 for just one example) the court can declare the contract as void; not nullified but a nullity. In such cases the court is deciding there simply was no contract at all…ever. In the nature of annulment the contract court is deciding there never was a contract at all.
Tim Conlon Esquire at
322 West Patrick St, #101 Frederick Maryland 21701