With the continuing saga of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries playing out in the tabloids, many people have likely read about the issue of annulments and may be curious about how they work in practice. If the gossip magazines can be trusted, Kris Humphries supposedly wants an annulment, something Ms. Kardashian refuses to go along with. Her reason is that annulments require an element of fraud, something she denies took place.
In South Carolina, divorce is certainly the most common way to end a marriage. What you may not realize is that it is not the only way. There are certain (and very limited) situations where you are permitted to file for an annulment instead of a divorce. Meeting with an experienced family law attorney discuss your specific situation is the best way to figure out if you meet the requirements necessary to receive an annulment.
First things first, an annulment is a way of declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, which simply ends a marriage, an annulment means that the marriage itself was invalid and thus, treats it as if it never happened. Divorce also entitles parties to various benefits from the marriage that are not available to those who end a marriage via annulment.
There are several specific reasons that justify annulments in South Carolina. The first situation where annulment is permitted is in the case of underage marriage. If either you or your spouse were younger than the age allowed for marriage in South Carolina and you did not obtain the required parental permission then that would justify an annulment. Bigamy, lack of mental capacity, and duress are other permissible reasons for an annulment. Many people have heard about a failure to consummate a marriage as justification, but many courts consider living together to be sufficient connection to disallow annulment.
The final reason for an annulment, and the reason that has Kim Kardashian up in arms, is fraud. This means that if a marriage took place under fraudulent terms it can be annulled. An example of such fraud would be if a woman were pregnant with another man's child, but told her future husband that the baby was his.
Each possible basis will have to be demonstrated to the satisfaction of a judge if you're seeking an annulment. Your word alone will not be enough; some kind of independent proof will typically be required. Given the complexities involved, a no-fault divorce is often simpler. As mention above, an experienced family law attorney can walk you through your options and help you decide how to proceed.
Source: “Kim Kardashian should give Kris Humphries annulment; admit fraud, move on,” by Rachael Monaco, published at Examiner.com.