The subject of annulment is likely the most misunderstood area of matrimonial law in New York. To understand annulment in New York it is best to set aside everything that you think you know about the subject.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are two different types of annulments: civil annulments and religious annulments. We are considering here only a civil annulment, that is the legal termination of a marriage by annulment. It may be possible to obtain a religious annulment even though you obtain a divorce instead of a civil annulment. To learn about a religious annulment, you should consult the religious faith that performed the marriage. The requirements and effects of a religious annulment most likely are quite different from a civil annulment.

There is no such thing as a trial marriage in New York. There is no right to an annulment if you decide after a week that the marriage was a mistake. Once you are married, you are married. Whether you have been married for one day or fifty years, the rules that apply to end the marriage are the same.

It is best to think of annulment as a type of divorce. Both annulment and divorce end a marriage.  If you obtain an annulment instead of a divorce, you receive a Judgment of Annulment instead of a Judgment of Divorce.  There is no real difference.  They both legally end the marriage.  An annulment does not remove from public records the fact that you were married. The only real benefit of having a marriage annulled is that others will likely think that it means something less negative than being divorced.

You should consider annulment when the facts of your situation indicate that annulment is appropriate.  The innocent party must be the one to start the annulment. There are strict time limitations depending upon the specific grounds for the annulment. An understanding of the specific grounds required for annulments begins with a discussion of what is meant by the terms void and voidable.

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