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Proof Required

In any legal proceeding, in order for a court to grant the relief requested by a plaintiff, the plaintiff must prove to the court that under the law he or she deserves that relief. An annulment is no different. An annulment, whether the action is contested or uncontested, the parties must present evidence to the court to support the request. An annulment is an action to end a marriage. Unlike divorce, there is not an option for stating that the grounds is “no fault.” There are only 5 reasons that a marriage is eligible for annulment. Even with those circumstances, an annulment is not automatic. The person requesting the annulment must show the court that the circumstances are such that by law the marriage must be invalidated. If you are seeking to end your marriage by annulment or by divorce, contact an experienced New York divorce lawyer who understands both the substantive and procedural legalities related to seeking an annulment or seeking a divorce. We are here to help.

Annulling a marriage

The grounds for which a marriage can be annulled are limited, and they are different from the grounds for a divorce. According to NY Dom Rel Law § 7, the 5 reasons for which a marriage is voidable, meaning that it can be annulled, include that at least one party is under the age of 18, a party was mentally incapacitated, a party was impotent, the marriage was based on duress, force, or fraud, or one of the parties suffered from an incurable mental illness. Note that these circumstances make the marriage voidable, not void. An action must be filed in court in order for a judge to invalidate the marriage.

Court requires proof to annul a marriage

Before a judge will grant an annulment, the judge must be presented with proof of the allegations on which the request for annulment is based. For example, if the allegation is that one of the parties was mentally incapacitated at the time of the marriage, the party seeking the annulment must show evidence, such as testimony from a physician, of that fact. According to NY Dom Rel Law § 144, the law also requires that the plaintiff prove that the couple is not cohabitating.

The proof required must be more than one of the spouses confessing to the allegations stated in the pleadings. The court requires a higher level of proof as evidence of the alleged facts.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Action for judgment declaring nullity of void marriages or annulling voidable marriage: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 140
  2. Dismissal of complaint in action by next friend to annul a marriage: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 142
  3. Judgment, how far conclusive: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 146
  4. Domestic Relations Law, section 144: Proof required

1. In an action to annul a marriage, a final judgment annulling the marriage shall not be rendered by default for want of an appearance or pleading, or by consent, or upon a trial of an issue, without proof of the facts upon which the allegation of nullity is founded. Plaintiff shall prove that there has been no such cohabitation between the parties as would bar a judgment except that in an action under subdivision (c) of section one hundred forty the plaintiff may prove instead that the mental illness still continues.

2. In any action, whether or not contested, brought to annul a marriage, the declaration or confession of either party to the marriage is not alone sufficient as proof, but other satisfactory evidence of the facts must be produced.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Before a judge will enter an annulment decree, proof must be presented to support the basis for which the annulment is sought. Because of the complex legal and procedural requirements of getting a marriage annulled contact an experienced New York divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who understands the legal requirements and has the skill and resources to ensure that your interests are protected. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, Westchester County, Suffolk County, and Nassau County.

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