In the list of arcane topics that float across a post, annulment may be the dullest.
Jes' so, thar' might be the rare soul who'd wanna know why/how it is different from a divorce.
In the current Front Porch post, Near Death Bed Confession, there is a reference to an annulment an I reckon I could put a brief explanation here.
In a nutshell, annulment means the "marriage" was void of the intentions of a true marriage. Hence, it warn't no true marriage a'tall, in the terms of what marriage is intended to be as stated in the vows professed. Such a union is invalid from the git-go, even if it lasts years. Think like this--what if ya bought a house an lived in years afore ya discovered the title was not transferrable at the time of the sale to you--wuz transferred in error. The house doan belong to you, even though ya lived in it 16 years.
Annulment is distinct from a divorce--divorce means the sundering of an actual marriage that did contain the true substance/ content of marriage.
Some misunderstandings exist about annulments--any chillen' born to an annulled union is LEGITIMATE. Another misunderstandin' is that "I wuz married 22 years, then it wuz annulled." Nope. Ya' wuz never married, as yore contract was void of the intention of marriage. Living as if married, even thinking ya' is married is not the determining factor. How so?
duress If her daddy points a shotgun at ya an yore knees is knockin' so ya' march down the aisle an hitch up, that is not marriage. Yore intent ain't to marry but to live another day. In short, the decision wuz not made wif' free will an full consent--like any other contract, you is supposed to be signin' on wif' full knowledge an free will.
If youse an English duchess an yore daddy is broke, wif' nuthin' but his name left to his name an' arranges fer ya to marry a filthy rich Saudi oil sheik who wants to marry a duchess, any duchess will do, that is duress. It ain't marriage.
Lack of knowledge about what youse doin' or about who youse marryin' can be grounds for annulment. If yore fella escaped from the nut ward an is on the lam, cleans up an charms yore mama an you too, the knot is tied, then ya find out he's been in the loony bin, thas' grounds for annulment? Why? 'Cause had ya known the TRUE background of the fella ya never woulda freely committed to marriage wif' him. Critical info wuz withheld with which ya would have made this commitment. (now, reckon it is the case that for some wimmen, marryin' a nutcase is voluntary an the info would not make a difference in her decision--an' a fella that goes nuts AFTER he hitches wif' ya is NOT grounds fer annulment, but is grounds for forbearance. The critical principle is that you must have the pertinent information that would bear on yore decision to hitch or not. Thar' mayhap be some dispute over whas' "pertinent" but ya git whar' that goes--that she doan like scuba divin' an ya discover that on yore first anniversary is not "pertinent." )
In some cases it can be that a couple is in a void/ null state, but would make the decision again even wif' all the pertinent facts were visible. Then they git hitched fer real--like the missy who discovers years later her beloved escaped from the loony bin, but she would "take him as her lawfully wedded husband" anyway. Now the trouble ain't his withholdin' pertinent info, the trouble would be that he, bein' nuts, ain't capable of makin' the committment "in his right mind."
Another nullity is when a person marries but is usin' false data, such as fake driver's license. A 16 year old boy is not free to marry. That he uses a fake I.D. to marry Unhinged Cradle Robbin' High School Teacher doan count. They ain't married even if they think they is, an have two sets of twins. Now that he is 21, he might choose to validate that union by gettin' hitched fer real, or his mama might get a judge to declare him a victim of Stockholm Syndrome an slap a temporary desist on them.