The Legal Non-religious Perspective in Maryland
I am often called by spouses who have been married some ridiculously short period of time (two weeks is the record) or under some ridiculous circumstances (he married me and got carted off to prison). Those people are universally in search of what they tell me is an “annulment.” Sadly, they almost always have to get an actual regular divorce which, yes, can take a year or more.
These people are smart. I mean shouldn’t those kind of circumstances make the marriage a nullity, a “mulligan…a do-over…etc. Sadly it does not. I would refer you to an article I previously did entitled Divorce Myths in Frederick Maryland: Annulment May 2013. Nevertheless, let’s bring things up to date.
Annulments in Maryland Courts are covered under the Family Law Code Sections 1-201(a)(3). See https://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mdcode/ They almost universally require circumstances that would make Jerry Springer Blush, not just qualify to be on his show. Consider the following:
1) No Marriage license? Or married by a fake reverend or Rabbi, A misdemeanor? Probably. An annulment? Nope.
2) Mental Deficiency or insanity? (No, the real kind not the kind everybody thinks about their spouse) Common? Oprah? Yes. An annulment? Nope.
IF you could prove you were so insane that you did not know what a “marriage was: and you could get a doctor to so attest? Maybe, but why would you care since you don’t know you are married anyway?
3) Impotence? Just does not rise to the level necessary to get you an annulment. (So cheap a pun, I don’t know how I could get away with NOT taking it)
4) Intoxication? No annulment. 50% of all marriages already don’t last a lifetime. What would the figure be if drunk people could not get married?
5) Duress? Take for example the literal “shotgun marriage.” Annulment? Maybe.
BUT you have to “register protest” to the guy/girl with the shotgun and file the moment you are out of imminent danger. Otherwise, you said no…no but there was yes…yes in your eyes?
6) Duration? Once you say “I do” you “are done” no annulment for short marriage.
7) Fraud? Well if he lied and said he was not impotent. Probably not. If she lied and said she had no physical bar to pregnancy, possibly. Hello equal rights!!!
But mail order brides and gold diggers take note: “no amount of misrepresentation regarding rank, fame fortune, habits or temperament” will do the trick. Ouch!!!! That’s: Uf (Albanian), Ox (Bulgarian), Jao (Croation), Ai (Estonian), Autsch (German), Jaj (Hungarian0, Satka (Latvian), Iay (Spanish), Au (Polish), Oy (Russian and Yiddish), Ah (Turkish) and just in case Eshuwi (Zulu).
8) Consanguinity? This word comes from the Latin word for Blood meaning you can get an annulment from relatives but only as follows: Cousin? Nope. Uncle/Aunt? Nope. Brother/sister? Annulment, and Father/Mother? Annulment.
The most positive aspect of Maryland annulment law has to do with kids
Children of an annulled couple are “legitimate” so long as the parties ostensibly lived together ostensibly treating each other as such in the presence of third parties and the children. So an annulment of the marriage does not “bastardize” children. Hmm??
Tim Conlon Esquire at
The Divorce Place
322 West Patrick St, #101 Frederick Maryland 21701