Many wonder should they seek divorce once financial, emotional, or other difficulties arise during marriage. However, in Georgia, divorce in not the only way to dissolve a marriage. An annulment voids or invalidates a marriage, and may be sought by parties wishing to terminate a marriage if certain criteria are met. O.C.G.A. § 19-4-1.
Similar to divorce, an annulment will only be granted by a court if there are valid grounds, or basis, for the annulment. In Georgia, grounds for annulment include:
- Intermarriage – The parties to the marriage were related to each other, such as a marriage between a father and daughter;
- Under Age – One of the parties to the marriage is under 16 years of age;
- Lack of Capacity – One of the parties did not have sufficient mental capacity at the time of the marriage;
- Bigamy – One of the parties was legally married to someone else at the time of the marriage;
- Force – Force, menace, or duress was used to obtain the marriage; and
- Fraud – The marriage was obtained due to the fraud of a party.
See O.C.G.A. §§ 19-3-3 to 19-3-5.
With the above in mind, if you are currently party to a marriage that was entered into under force or as a result of fraud, or if you or the other party was underage, lacked mental capacity, married, or related to each other at the time of marriage, an annulment may be the best course of action, because annulments void the marital relationship as if it never existed. O.C.G.A. § 19-4-5. If you believe an annulment is the best option for you based on the facts of your case, speak with an Atlanta divorce attorney to determine if you are eligible to seek an annulment or if seeking a divorce would better suit your circumstances.