Nullity or Divorce?
A divorce is legally defined as a dissolving of a marriage. The legal requirement for a divorce is 12 months separation.
A nullity of a marriage, is totally different. A nullity is an Order of the Court that a marriage never existed.
Court Orders for nullity of a marriage are rare as there are only limited circumstances in which they can occur. Besides fundamental issues, such as duress or fraud, it usually requires that the marriage ceremony has been conducted incorrectly or that the person conducting the ceremony is unqualified.
People can become easily confused especially when in movies or in many TV Shows, it seems that you can get an ‘annulment’ if you feel that the marriage is not a valid marriage for various reasons such as intent to gain a visa in to a country, or even the couple being heavily intoxicated at the time of the ceremony, these are all completely fictitious and far from the truth of situations, especially in Australian Family Law.
It is very rare and quite difficult to nullify a marriage in Australia. A declaration of nullity is a finding that the marriage never legally took place in the first place, and as mentioned above, never existed at all, even if a marriage ceremony has taken place. The Family Court of Australia may declare a marriage invalid on the following grounds:
- One of both of the parties were already married at the time
- One of both of the parties were under age at the time of the wedding and did not have the necessary approval,
- One or both of the parties were forced into the marriage under severe duress.
The Court will NOT declare nullity of the marriage for reasons including (but not limited to):
- Non-consummation of the marriage
- Never having lived together
- Family violence, or
- Other incompatibility situations.
In the 20 years that Michael Lynch Family Lawyers has been in business, we have seen many relationship breakdowns and we have a lot of experience in dealing with divorce and people seeking out a declaration of ‘nullity’ of a marriage. If you are currently in a situation that could validate for nullity, or if you are needing specialist advice to get through your divorce, it is important that you contact us to speak to one of our Family Lawyers to get professional advice, unique to your situation.