Marriage Annulment :Void and Voidable Marriage

Updated on December 13, 2023 05:10:50 AM

An annulment means declaring your marriage as void or null. Unlike divorce where both the partners seek to end their marriage, annulment simply declines the existence of any such marriage between the partners.

Divorce involves many issues such as alimony payments, child custody, interim maintenance and other related issues. Majority of us find it difficult to understand these terms. In simple terms alimony is the one-time payment that another partner must make at the time of divorce, while interim maintenance is a set amount decided by the court that must be paid at regular intervals to the spouse.

But there is much more to it than it looks. It is not like a married couple who now no longer wish to live together can claim their marriage to be void.

To understand the conditions to be met for a void marriage, you first need to understand annulment, its laws, and how they are different from a divorce. Annulment is just a declaration of a void marriage. And a void or empty marriage results in annulment.

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What is Annulment?

Annulment meaning is rejecting the existence of a marriage or nullifying it. Marriage can be declared null when it has not met legal requirements at the time of marriage. Annulment of marriage means declaring a marriage that was valid till that date but now is a void marriage. It refers to declaring a voidable marriage as void. You may feel a bit confused with these two words, void and a voidable marriage. Void marriage doesn’t need any evidence or petition to declare a marriage null. It already is an empty marriage or has not ever existed after the time of its commencement.But in the case of Voidable marriage, either of the partners seeks the court judgment on the annulment of their marriage. To have a bit better clarity, we can understand it from the legal perspective also.

Void and Voidable Marriage

A clear difference between a void and voidable marriage is explained under Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. It basically explains the conditions of a valid marriage which also led to the origin of the concept of void and a voidable marriage. There are a total 5 clauses in that section where clause:

  1. states that neither partner should have a living spouse at the time of marriage.
  2. states that the party must be of sound mind and able to give his/her valid consent.
  3. states that the groom must be 21 years of age and bridge to be 18 years of age at least.
  4. states that the parties must not follow under the degree of prohibited relationship.
  5. states that the parties are not sapindas to each other.

Now that you are aware of all 5 clauses, it will be easy to grasp the concept of void and a voidable marriage. Void marriage under Hindu Law is those that violate Clause (i), (iv), (v) of Section 5. And Voidable Marriage is those that violate (ii) of the same. We hope that would have cleared the confusion.

Now if you want to seek nullity of your marriage, then it must fall under the grounds of a voidable marriage.

Grounds of Annulment

There are different grounds under which one can seek nullity of marriage in the court. Those grounds are:

  1. If any of the spouses were married at the time of marriage.
  2. If either of the spouses was not of a sound mind at the time of marriage.
  3. If either of the spouses was under the influence of any drug and not in a position to give his/her consent.
  4. If the consent to the marriage was based on fraud or force.
  5. If either of the partners is incapable of a physical relationship in a marriage.
  6. Prisoners sentenced to a term of life imprisonment may not marry.

Which laws govern Annulment in India?

In a single line, the Indian Divorce Act and Hindu Marriage Act have laws related to annulment in India.

  1. Indian Divorce Act,1869: Section 18 of the Act gives the right to both of the parties i.e. husband and wife to file a petition for annulment of their marriage.
  2. Hindu Marriage Act: Section 5 and 12 define the terms void and voidable marriage. It also described the laws related to the legitimacy of children in void marriages. The grounds of annulment are also stated under the Hindu Marriage Act.

How to get an annulment in India?

There are grounds only under which a marriage can be nullified in cases of a voidable marriage. However, we are not going to say the process is quick and easy. But with the best legal consultancy at Litem, you definitely have an upper hand in all these matters. The process of reaching us out is even more simple:

Fill the form or Call us at 7409697047

How is Marriage Annulment different from Divorce?

So now when we are clear with void and voidable marriage, it is a good time to understand the difference between an annulment and divorce.

Marriage Annulment Divorce
Annulment simply refuses the existence of any such marriage Divorce ends the existing marriage.
The marital status changed to single after the annulment. The marital status becomes divorced.
No alimony or spousal maintenance can be demanded in case of nullity of marriage. Provision for spousal maintenance and alimony is there in divorce proceedings.
Marriage annulment can be done of void and voidable marriages. Divorce can either be by mutual consent or contested divorce.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is annulment different from divorce?

Divorce simply seeks the end of the marriage whereas annulment of marriage declines the existence of any such marriage.

Is annulment better than divorce?

As such, the answer to these questions varies according to the situation. If your marriage doesn’t stand valid under Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 then annulment is better for you than divorce.

Do both parties have to agree to an annulment?

No, there is no such thing as a mutual agreement in the annulment of marriage. If there is a violation of Section 5 clause (ii) of the Hindu Succession Act, then there is no need for agreement of both parties. Even either of the spouses can file a case for the annulment of marriage in the court as well.

How long does a nullity of marriage take?

There is no fixed way to put a timeline on this process. If you are going in the right direction with every document related to your case, then also you can expect 6-8 months for the decision for nullity of your marriage.

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