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How can I apply for a marriage annulment?

Annulment is one of the ways in which a marriage can be concluded. By annulment it is understood that the marriage has never existed, meaning there is no effect derivable from the marital union.

The two terms, annulment and divorce, can be confused between one another, but there is an essential difference: divorce is applicable in the case of a valid marriage, – annulment isn´t.

The causes of matrimonial nullity are set out in the Code of Canon Law, so it is important that the spouses are married by the Church.

Motives allowing for marriage annulment:

  1. Impediments: These are external circumstances that make it impossible for marriage to take place (such as age and impotence, among other causes)
  2. Lack of consent: These are internal circumstances affecting the willingness of contracting marriage (lack of use of reason and personal error are some of the existing causes)
  3. Omissions in formalities: These are due to omissions of formal requirements that must be followed before contracting marriage (for example the absence of a witness or the absence of the parson)

In order to claim a marriage annulment you go to the Courts and follow the legal procedure. In this point it is similar to divorce, although you should be borne in mind that the principles of marriage annulment are different from the ones of divorce, since the annulment is governed by Canon Law.

Either spouse may apply for annulment, as joint application is not a necessity. The competent court in charge of this procedure is the First Instance Ecclesiastical Court (Tribunal Eclesiástico de Primera Instancia). Once the procedure is completed at the court, the decision must be confirmed by the Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal (Tribunal Eclesiástico de Segunda Instancia). In case of disagreement, the case will be brought to the Tribunal of the Rota.

It is important to highlight that in a scenario where there are common children, such circumstances will not prevent the demand for annulment and both “parties” do not have to be concerned have about the children´s situation, as they will keep the same rights and responsibilities if the marriage is declared invalid.

At Lexland Lawyers we strongly advise claiming for annulment only when there are clear indications for annulment and bear in mind that it is also essential to provide the necessary proof. Our lawyers will be pleased to thoroughly discuss your case and find the best way to resolve your marital issues.