An annulment is a voiding of the marriage or registered domestic partnership agreement or contract. If you get a “Judgment of Annulment” your marital status will return to "unmarried," and it will be as if legally you were never married in the first place. In other words, your prior marriage is “void.”
A “void” marriage is one which the court does not recognize to have ever existed. For example, a marriage is void if either party had a living spouse at the time the parties were married, or if the parties are first cousins or more closely related. You can only annul your marriage if your marriage qualifies as either a void or voidable marriage.
A marriage that has been annulled for one of these reasons is void as of the time the judgment is signed. In a few cases, such as when a party to a marriage was married to someone else at the time of the marriage, the marriage is treated as if it never happened.
On the other hand, a “voidable” marriage is when a party was incapable of entering into or consenting to marriage. This may be because he or she was not of legal age, lacked sufficient understanding, or a party's consent to the marriage was obtained by force or fraud.
An annulment is very different than either a legal separation or a divorce is that with an annulment, the marriage is “void,” as if it never happened. The parties are returned to their premarital legal positions as much as possible. You must meet certain criteria in order to receive an annulment so it is not always available to a party. The filing fees for an annulment in Oregon are the same for a divorce or a separation.
In order to get an annulment in Central Oregon, a party must file a “Petition for Annulment.” If the marriage ceremony happened in Oregon and one or both of the parties are residents of or domiciled in Oregon when the suit for annulment is commenced, there is no requirement for the length of the residence if a proper ground for the annulment is alleged. If the marriage ceremony did not occur in Oregon, then at least one party must be a resident or domiciliary of Oregon continuously for at least six months before the annulment suit commences. After the six-month residency requirement has been met, Oregon has the authority to annul the marriage without regard to where the marriage ceremony occurred or where the suit arose.
A marriage is prohibited and, if the marriage ceremony occurred in Oregon, “absolutely void” if either of the parties had a spouse living at the time of the marriage or the parties are first cousins or nearer of kin to each other, whether of the whole or half blood, whether by blood or adoption. But, when the parties are first cousins by adoption only, the marriage is not void.
This can be a complicated area of the law. For more information, please contact a Bend family law attorney at Baxter Harder, LLC.