An annulment is a judicial finding that a valid marriage never existed. What this means is that the marriage is either: (1) void from the beginning, or (2) voidable.
A marriage that is void from the beginning includes: bigamy (marriage performed while one person is still married to a prior spouse); close relative (see MCL 551.3-4 for prohibited relationships); incompetence of a party (not capable at law of contracting at time of marriage).
A marriage that is voidable includes: underage-without consent (however parties may affirm by living together after age of majority); fraud or duress (but the party seeking to void must move out after fraud is discovered); other grounds (such as inability to have children–where one party withheld knowledge and failed to disclose it).
A marriage that is void from the beginning (MCL 552.1) theoretically does not require judicial action to dissolve the marriage. However, judicial action may be needed to solve issues of property rights, child custody, and other such problems usually faced in divorce.
Whereas, a marriage, which is voidable, requires that the parties petition the court. In either case, parties can petition the court pursuant to MCL 552.3-.4 for an annulment.
Michigan treats the petition for and subsequent proceedings in an annulment the same as in divorce (MCL 552.3). This means that property and will be divided under the same principles as divorce (equity).
However, where divorce has a stricter length of residency requirements, annulment only requires that one party to the marriage is a resident of the county where the petition is filed.
Children born of any marriage are considered legitimate (MCL 552.1, .29). Further, the court will still provide for the custody and support of the children of an annulled marriage, regardless of the reason. MCL 552.16; Gallison v Gallison, 5 Mich App 460 (1966). Basically, the same child custody and support framework used in divorce is applicable to an annulment.
Marriage issues can cause great distress and cause emotions to run high. That is why you want experienced counsel at your side. Before moving or petitioning the court, contact our legal team in Grand Rapids at 616-698-0000 or www.clickforhoward.com
To talk with our attorney about your legal concerns, contact the Van Den Heuvel Law Office by calling 616-698-0000. You may also complete our online contact form. After-hours consultations are available by appointment. We are also available on Skype by appointment.