Kentucky Bankruptcy Law

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Annulment versus Dissolution (divorce) of Marriage

Ever wonder about the difference between an annulment and a divorce. Mainly, the grounds for divorce come down to one person believing they have irreconcilable differences (or at least being willing to swear that under oath). Annulment, or “invalidating” a marriage has specific grounds and narrow time frames. Invalidating marriage has the legal effect of saying the marriage never happened except that it will not restore maintenance (alimony) from a prior divorce that ceased due to the second marriage.

KRS 403.120 provides for the circumstances when a marriage can be declared “invalid” which is an annulment. First, a marriage can be invalidated if it was obtained by force or fraud or one party lacked capacity to consent (including being intoxicated). Fraud here is very limited, but at least one Kentucky case found that lying to a man about him being the father of her child to procure the marriage was grounds to invalidate the marriage. Second, if one party cannot consummate the marriage (have sexual intercourse) and the other party did not know of that incapacity prior to the marriage. These two causes for invalidating a marriage can only be brought within 90 days after the hurt party or a legal representative becomes aware of problem. Third, if the marriage is prohibited by law. This last one can only be brought within one year of a party discovering the problem.

Prohibited marriages are outlined in KRS 402.020 and include a marriage to someone already married and not divorced. Also, marrying someone who has been adjudged to not be legally competent prior to marriage is void by the same statute. Marrying someone of the same sex is a prohibited marriage. Marrying a first cousin (blood relative) is also void by statute under KRS 402.010.

KRS 402.030 provides for voiding a marriage where one of the parties was between age and 18 and married without the consent of parents (this also gets complicated in that in some cases both parents must consent) or the court and has not been “ratified” by living together after the age of 18. Third, if one party was under the age of 16 and there was no written permission from a competent court and that party did not ratify the marriage by living together after age 18.


March 8, 2007 - Posted by | Family Law

1 Comment »

  1. Void dissolution if the court of appeals rules that the order was void.

    Comment by mark minix | June 7, 2007 | Reply

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