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Is Your Marriage Legal, or Void, or Voidable -- Annulment

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We are somewhat familiar with religious "annulments" required (most notably in the Roman Catholic Church), which is a preceeding entirely outside of the civil court system.

But there are Annulments also in Michigan law.  There are times when a marriage breaks up so suddenly, after just days or less, that it seems like there really was no real marriage and that an "annulment" strikes even lawyers as the appropriate course to pursue, to erase officially a thing like that.

Since 1957, Michigan has not permitted so-called "common law" marriages, where persons are together and acting so much like "married" persons that, prior to that legislative ban, they actually were regarded as married.

This, of course, created plenty of confusion as to whether a couple fit in that category -- that the only sensible thing to do was to say, by law, no more of that.

This still leaves the question of a "one-day" marriage, or the like.

The fact, however, is that a marriage is a legal contract between the parties that the state (Michigan) will not permit such a contract to be terminated without involvement of the state, through a legal proceeding.  A complaint has to be filed in Court.  A complaint for annulment?  A complaint for "no fault" divorce?

The difference between the two types of legal actions filed in court, in the Family Division of a Circuit Court, depends upon whether the "marriage" was "legal" or wasn't.

Of course most marriages conducted by a civil law magistrate or in a church or other location by a person authorized to "marry" persons -- would be legal.

But what if one of the parties was already married?  What if that "marriage" was performed under duress, forced to happen?

What if one of the parties was under age?

What if one of the parties was "mentally incompetent" (as the law puts it), meaning they probably didn't know what they were doing?

What if the marriage was between brother and sister (relationships prohibited by Michigan law; marriages not allowed here or probably in most other places)?

These are the sort of "illegal" marriages that are subject to annulment.  Annulment by civil action, a complaint filed, an Answer permitted and, ultimately, to be decided by a Judge.

That is annulment in Michigan.  It is for marriages that are not permitted by law, that are not "legal."

Otherwise, even the one-day or less marriage is legal and a divorce action has to be commenced.  The State won't let you just quit.  The contract between the parties is "regulated" by law and only "the law," the Courts, can tear asunder what God is supposed to have joined together.

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