Can A Tennessee Marriage Be Annulled?

If your marriage is dissolving or never started on solid footing and you’re ultimately facing divorce, you may have wondered whether an annulment could be a possible alternative to the divorce process in Tennessee. Though annulments divorceare occasionally granted in Tennessee family courts, the requirements needed for a married couple to qualify are such that for most married couples annulment simply isn’t a realistic alternative.

What Is An Annulment?

In a divorce, married parties seek to end their valid marriage and divide any property or assets that have been accumulated and commingled during the course of the marriage. With an annulment, the object is not to end a marriage, but instead to declare that the marriage itself was invalid and therefore never took place. In effect, an annulment erases, as opposed to ends, a marriage.

One of the most common misconceptions about annulments is that a brief marriage can simply be undone based solely on its short, insubstantial duration. Unfortunately for those who decide to marry on a whim, a short marriage is not by itself grounds for receiving an annulment in Tennessee.

What Are Legal Grounds For Annulment?

For a marriage to be annulled, there must have been a serious defect in the marriage contract, one that renders the marriage void per Tennessee law. There are several legal grounds for annulment in Tennessee per T.C.A 36-3-101 including the following:

  • Insanity – One spouse was insane or unable to understand the nature of marriage when the spouses got married
  • Underage – One or both spouses was too young to be married
  • Incest – The spouses are relatives to one another
  • Bigamy – One spouse has a living husband or wife at the time of marriage
  • Duress – One spouse only married because he or she was coerced
  • Fraud – One spouse defrauded the other into getting married
  • Impotence – One spouse physically cannot have sexual intercourse
  • Denial of Marital Rights – One spouse refuses to live with the other or have sexual relations during the marriage

In most cases, many of these grounds for annulment are difficult to prove (specifically duress, fraud, impotence and denial of marital rights) and, therefore, are rarely granted in a Tennessee family court.

If you find yourself facing divorce and have questions about your rights under the law or question the validity of your marriage it is important that you seek the services of an experienced family law professional. Contact attorney Donna Wagner to schedule a consultation.

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