Family Law for Real Housewives Quickie: What About An Annulment?

Luann’s marriage to Tom lasted a mere 7 months. As a spectator, this may seem uniquely short. However, her situation is not an anomaly.

In my own practice, I have come across more and more cases when a spouse filed for divorce after less than one year of marriage. Notably, in most of those cases, the parties knew each other for an extended period of time rather than a rush to the altar scenario.

This begs the common question, can the brevity of a marriage in and of itself be grounds for an annulment? In New York, the answer is a resounding no.

In New York, annulments may only be granted in limited scenarios. For example, if a spouse was under 18 years old. If a spouse was incurably mentally ill. If the marriage was the result of duress. If a spouse is physically unable to have intercourse, which from a viewer’s standpoint doesn’t seem to be the problem here, i.e. Sonja, Missy, and what went down at the Regency.

The good news is New York has no fault divorce. We were the last state in the nation to have it, but it’s now been around since 2010.

The end result is both spouses don’t need to agree to the divorce. If one spouse wants out of the marriage, they can get out.

So while annulment is only fitting in a rare set of circumstances, no fault divorce is an attractive alternative.

Stayed tuned for the next edition, “How A Prenup Can Help.”

Rebecca A. Provder, Esq. is a partner in the Matrimonial and Family Law Practice Group at Moses & Singer LLP, 405 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10174, 212-554-7628, rprovder@mosessinger.com.

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