How Important Is It to Consummate a Marriage?

Am I Entitled to an Annulment in NY if My Marriage Has Not Reached Consummation?

After a couple enters into a marriage, it is presumed that they would live together and would have consummated their marriage, or engage in sexual intercourse. 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 the state of the marriage.

A marital partner may only seek an annulment based on specific criteria. In the case of the consummation of a marriage, it is only necessary 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 place some importance on having the guidance of an experienced New York annulment attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities.

What does the Law Consider as Annulment? Is Consummation of the Marriage a Requirement?

An annulment is when the court determines that the state of a marriage is no longer valid. If certain criteria are 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.

  • The husband, wife, or both marital partners was too young to be in a marital relationship — 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 the husband, wife, or both marital partners was mentally ill or incapacitated with no possible treatment, the court may annul the marriage.
  • Incurable mental illness — If the husband or wife has a mental illness with no possible treatment for a period of five years or more, the other marital partner 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 the fraud of the other marital partner, or had a wedding to obtain immigration status, the marriage can be annulled.
  • The lack of physical capacity to attain consummation in the marriage — When one of the marital partners is not able to consummate the marriage but was unaware of it at the time they were married, the marriage may be annulled. It is necessary for this to 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 marital records remain, the couple may consider themselves as never having a marriage.

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 would still be a factor. The court may intervene in the distribution of marital property and may also order spousal maintenance in certain circumstances.

Call or Email Us if You are 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 essential 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 email us at to schedule a free consultation.

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