I have previously mentioned annulments as an alternative to dissolution for a civil partnership; It is also possible to have marriages annulled.
But what does this mean and how does annulment differ from a divorce?
It is not necessary to have been married for 12 months before annulment proceedings are commenced (which is a requirement of a divorce) but proceedings should be brought within a reasonable period of time. If a marriage is to be annulled it will either be viewed as a void, or a voidable, marriage. A void marriage is one which has never existed, for example because the procedural requirements have not been met, or one party is related to another and therefore are not lawfully allowed to marry. A voidable marriage can be made void for various reasons.
Some reasons for annulment in the second category are:
Annulments are far less common than divorce but may be preferred if one or both parties are opposed to divorce (perhaps due to religious beliefs).