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When can a marriage be annulled under Virginia laws?

Annulment is a legal term which defines the process which cancels a marriage that should not have happened. Virginia statutes provide certain grounds for annulment including fraud, duress, mental incapacity and impotency.

Marriage consent obtained by fraud or duress or consent given by a party with mental incapability is grounds for annulment. An annulment will not be permitted for any reason if the parties cohabited after knowledge of these circumstances.

A marriage can also be annulled if, within 10 months of the marriage, the wife is found to be pregnant by another man or that the husband fathered a child with another woman. In these cases, the court will not annul if the parties knew about these infidelities and cohabited anyway. If either the husband or the wife was a prostitute or was convicted of a felony before marriage and did not disclose these facts before marriage, then such a marriage can also be annulled.

Under Virginia laws, marriage between parties related by blood, such as marriage to a sibling or first cousin, is prohibited. Also, a marriage is not legal and can be annulled if either party is not a legal adult at the time of marriage, i.e., under 18 years old, or is currently legally married to someone else.

Although divorce or annulment signifies the end of a marriage, they are not the same thing under the law. Divorce dissolves a valid marriage, annulment erases a marriage which should not have taken place under law.

Annulment of a marriage can be sought by filing an official Complaint for Annulment before the court located in the place where either the husband or the wife lives. A Complaint for Annulment must be filed within two years from the date of marriage. Children born to parents whose marriage is annulled are considered legitimate under Virginia law.

Source:, "Virginia Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws," Accessed on April 30, 2015

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