Seeking an Annulment in Calgary: A Rare and Difficult Alternative to Divorce Part 3
May 31, 2016
Part 1 of this article series discussed the different ways the law and the Calgary Courts view an annulment and a divorce. A divorce recognizes the marriage as a legal contract, and seeks to find the most equitable way to end the contract and split the married couple into two legally separate people, based on a number of factors including assets brought into the marriage and contributions (financial and otherwise) to the marriage itself. A legal annulment, on the other hand, make it as though the marriage contract never took place.
As you learned in Part 2 of this article, annulments are very rare in Calgary and throughout Canada. They are usually only granted if there was a problem with the legality of the marriage in the first place—if either or both spouses were not of age at the time of the marriage, if the marriage ceremony had certain irregularities, if spouses are too closely related, or if either or both spouses had a pre-existing marriage that hadn't yet been legally dissolved. These are all issues that would have prevented a legal marriage from occurring had they been known at the time of the marriage, and thus an annulment can be sought to invalidate the marriage.
There are some cases where an annulment can be sought even if the marriage itself was valid and legal. These annulments are even rarer, but they can be sought and they have been granted by the Calgary Courts on occasion.
Annulment Due to Lack of Consent to Be Married
In order for a marriage to be legal, both parties must consent to the marriage. While this includes both signing and making a verbal statement of a decision to be married, there are cases where intoxication or other cognitive impairment make it impossible to provide legally binding consent. Trained officiants and Court officials will not perform or validate marriages with visibly intoxicated participants for this reason.
Annulment Due to Lack of Consummation
If one or both spouses is unable to consummate the marriage an annulment may be granted. Courts typically ask to see medical documentation that this inability, whatever its cause, is permanent and irreversible.
It should be noted that sterility or lack of ability to have children is not considered grounds for an annulment.
Talking to a Calgary Divorce Lawyer About YOUR Unique Situation
As mentioned above, annulments are very rare here in Calgary. In most cases, a divorce is the easiest route to ending a marriage, and an annulment may be legally impossible. Every situation is different, however. If you would like to discuss your case with a knowledgeable and experienced Calgary divorce lawyer, please contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
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