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Marriage Gone Wrong? Discover the Surprising Truth About Annulments and No-Fault Divorces



Marriage Gone Wrong? Discover the Surprising Truth About Annulments and No-Fault Divorces

30 May 2023
Marriage Gone Wrong? Discover the Surprising Truth About Annulments and No-Fault Divorces

Couples decide to end their marriage—usually with some mixture of grief, relief, and optimism about the future—for any number of reasons. Sometimes, the marriage just stops working. Other couples realize in hindsight that it was a mistake from the beginning. When a marriage is over and it’s time to move forward, an annulment or a no-fault divorce may be the best solution. 

Annulments in Massachusetts

Annulments differ from divorces in that a divorce terminates a legally valid marriage, and an annulment declares that the marriage was never legally valid in the first place. This doesn’t mean the marriage didn’t take place. It only means that it didn’t meet the criteria required by law.

To get an annulment in Massachusetts, you need to show that your marriage is “void” or “voidable”—that is, that it wasn’t legally valid. You can’t typically get an annulment simply because your marriage was short.

A marriage is void if:

  • One of you was already married to someone else at the time, or
  • The two of you are close relatives by blood or by marriage.

A marriage is voidable if:

  • One of you didn’t have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage. For example, if one of you was drunk or mentally incompetent when you were married.
  • One of you isn’t physically capable of having intercourse.
  • One of you wasn’t old enough to get married. In Massachusetts, you must be 18 to marry without the permission of a parent or guardian.
  • The marriage was entered into on fraudulent grounds. For example, one party may not have disclosed that they were incapable of having children, or one party may have married the other for immigration reasons but pretended it was for love.

If your marriage meets any of these criteria, you should qualify for an annulment. If your spouse objects, however, they can petition the court to affirm the marriage and recognize its validity, which removes the grounds for annulment.

No-Fault Divorce in Massachusetts

Couples seeking a divorce used to have to declare a reason, which most often took the form of blame: infidelity, domestic violence, abandonment, etc. Today, no-fault divorces, based on general problems like “irreconcilable differences” are the norm.

In Massachusetts, no-fault divorce can be simple and efficient. The state requires only that both parties agree that the marriage is over and that they agree on the terms of the divorce, including the division of property and finances, in writing. With a joint 1A petition, a court can finalize your divorce within 90 to 120 days.

If the divorcing couple can’t agree on the terms, the petition can be more complicated. In this case, you’ll have to file a 1B petition, which may go to litigation before a judge. You can also request mediation to find mutually acceptable terms. 

Experienced Family Law Attorneys At Wright Family Law Group, we specialize in helping families through challenging times, including divorce. Find out how we can help you too. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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