Nullity of marriage (civil nullity or civil annulment) is a legal declaration by the Court which states that although two people went through a marriage ceremony, their marriage never actually existed in the eyes of the law or the State.
There are two types of marriages that may be annulled or cancelled – void marriages and voidable marriages. A void marriage is considered to have never taken place. A voidable marriage is considered to be a valid marriage until a decree of annulment is made.
Civil annulment is not the same as divorce. Divorce is a legal declaration ending a marriage whereas civil annulment (nullity) is a legal declaration stating that the marriage never existed. If a marriage is annulled, it also means that both people lose any rights they enjoyed as a married person.
It is important to be aware of the difference between a church annulment and a civil annulment. A church annulment is not recognised by the law and therefore has no legal effect. It does not mean that you can legally remarry – although it may mean that you can remarry in the eyes of the church.
The court may grant nullity in situations where for example:
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