Common Grounds for Seeking a Marriage Annulment

marriage annulment

Marriage annulment, in layman’s terms, is a legal process that declares a particular marriage null and void. Simply put, it says that it never existed in the first place. 

It has its advantages, like protecting assets and property, getting remarried, sharing marital debt, and so on. Bear in mind, however, that not all marriages can undergo marriage annulment in Singapore. If you are looking for answers, you came to the right place; this write-up provides an explanation of the grounds for annulment. Read on for details. 

Annulment vs divorce

First, let us take a look at the general differences between annulments and divorce. 

  • Annulment

An annulment can be more complex as well as challenging because of the fact that it has stricter rules that need to be proven in court. Plus, property division and spousal support may not be applied since the marriage is invalid. That said, child custody is going to be determined via court proceedings, amicable settlement, and so forth. 

  • Divorce

Divorce is typically a simpler process that has no-fault options required. With regard to other legalities, it involves property division, child custody arrangements, and spousal support, among others. 

Annulment of marriage in Singapore: The grounds

Here are the grounds and legal conditions that need to be met when legally annulling a marriage: 

  • Non-consummation

Arguably, the most common ground for marriage annulment in Singapore is non-consummation of marriage.  This means that the marriage has not been completed due to the incapacity or refusal of one party to engage in sexual intercourse. 

It is important to note that this ground may not be used if both parties were aware of the said issue before they decided to tie the knot. 

  • Bigamy or polygamy

A particular marriage can undergo annulment of marriage in Singapore if either party was already married at the time of the ceremony. Take note that in the country, both bigamy as well as polygamy are criminal offenses; that said, a subsequent marriage can be annulled if it can be proven in court that one party was aware of an existing marriage. 

  • Mental incapacity 

In simple terms, mental incapacity is the inability–through mental or cognitive impairment–to carry out everyday tasks or to care for a person (or property) with reasonable discretion.

In marriage annulment cases, mental incapacity applies if either spouse was suffering from a mental disorder during the time of the marriage. And to the point that it rendered them severely incapable of understanding the overall factors that makeup a marriage. 

  • Underage marriage

Marriages that involve individuals who were below Singapore’s legal age of marriage at the time of the ceremony can be legally annulled. For reference, the legal minimum age for marriage in the country is 18 years old. That said, marriages below the said age can be declared null and void. 

  • Failure to get consent

For a marriage to legally prosper, both parties need to give their consent without any form of fraud or duress. If it can be proven that one party was deliberately forced into a particular marriage or did not genuinely consent due to the aforementioned factors, the marriage can be annulled. 

  • Prohibited relationships 

Certain kinds of relationships are prohibited from marriage under Singapore law. For instance, if a marriage happens between parties who are closely blood-related, it can be annulled. Other relationships include those among siblings, parents and children, and other close blood relatives. 

Summing up 

While annulment can be a complex as well as challenging process, knowing the appropriate grounds is a significant step in determining whether it is a viable option. In line with this, couples who are contemplating marriage annulment are encouraged to seek legal advice from qualified family law practitioners from reputable law firms. 

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