Grounds for Annulment

There are two options for ending a marriage in Pennsylvania: divorce or annulment. An annulment may only be pursued where the marriage itself was void or voidable. A marriage is void where either party was still married at the time of the current marriage, the parties are related to a certain degree, either party did not consent to the marriage due to incapacity or serious mental health disorder, or either party was under 18 at the time of the marriage. These grounds for annulment can be pursued so long as there was no confirmation of the marriage by continuance of the marital relationship after one of the above-mentioned grounds was discovered.

Grounds for annulment for voidable marriages include instances where either party was under the age of 16 without express court approval, either party was 16 or 17 without parental consent or court approval, either party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a party is incurably impotent and the other party has no knowledge of the same prior to the marriage, or where a party was induced into marriage by fraud, duress or coercion. For several of the grounds, a complaint for annulment must be filed within sixty days after the marriage ceremony. Also, similar to the grounds for a void marriage, the parties cannot subsequently ratify the marriage by continuing as spouses after they have learned of the potential ground for annulment. Procedurally, annulments move forward in the same way as a divorce through the filing of a complaint with the Prothonotary. Any property acquired during the marriage will be subject to equitable distribution.