How Important Is It to Consummate a Marriage?

Am I Entitled to an Annulment in NY if My Marriage Has Not Been Consummated?

After a couple marries, it is presumed that they will live together and consummate their marriage, or enter into a sexual relationship together. But contrary to popular belief, if a marriage is not consummated in New York, it does not automatically qualify it for an annulment, or voiding of the marriage.

A partner may only seek an annulment based on specific criteria. In the case of the consummation of a marriage, it is only grounds for annulment if one party has a physical incapacity that prevents them from doing so, and it was discovered after the marriage. If you are considering an annulment, you should get the guidance of an experienced New York annulment attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities.

What is Annulment?

An annulment is when the court determines that a marriage is no longer valid. If certain criteria is met, a marriage can be annulled even if it was initially valid when the couple was married.

There are five reasons that may cause a marriage to be annulled in New York.

  • Either party was too young to get married — Anyone under the age of 18 requires the consent of both parents and anyone under the age of 16 requires a judge’s approval in order to be legally married in New York. When these requirements are not met, the underage party or their parents or guardians may seek an annulment of the marriage.
  • Lack of mental capacity — If either of the marital partners was mentally ill or incapacitated, the court may annul the marriage.
  • Incurable mental illness — If one party has an incurable mental illness for a period of five years or more, the other spouse may seek an annulment.
  • Consent for marriage was obtained through force, duress, or fraud — If one party was physically forced into the marriage, pressured into marriage by being defrauded by the other, or married to obtain immigration status, the marriage can be annulled.
  • The lack of physical capacity to consummate the marriage — When one party is not able to consummate the marriage but was unaware of it at the time they were married, the marriage may be annulled. This must happen within five years of the date of the marriage.

How Does an Annulment Affect the Legal Rights and Responsibilities of the Partners?

Once a marriage is annulled, it is considered void. While all records remain of the marriage, the couple may consider themselves as never married.

Although an annulment voids the marriage, it does not affect the legitimacy of the children or the couple’s responsibility to them. When there are minor children involved, child custody and support are factors that still must be dealt with in an annulment. The court can order child support, custody, and visitation, similar to a divorce.

Likewise, if assets and property were acquired by the couple during the marriage, equitable distribution will still be a factor. The court may intervene in the distribution of marital property and may also order spousal maintenance in certain circumstances.

Are You Considering an Annulment in New York?

New York family law can be complicated. If you are considering an annulment and concerned about your grounds, rights, and responsibilities, it is important to get the skilled guidance of a New York family law attorney. At The Law Office of Ryan Besinque, we have the experience it takes to guide you toward the best resolution for you and your family. Call us at (929) 251-4477 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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