Marriage Annulment in North Carolina:
Under what circumstances can a marriage be annulled?
by Dr. John Luton
Considering marriage annulment? First, get the facts.
A marriage annulment in North Carolina, may be obtained to declare a marriage void. By definition, a marriage annulment is a formal statement by a court that a marriage never legally existed. Granting of an annulment legally dissolves a marriage and enables the parties to legally assert that they have never been married.
According to the North Carolina Bar Association, marriage annulments are “rare and only granted in unusual circumstances.” Ecclesiastical annulments, such as those granted by the Catholic Church as a requirement for remarriage, are more common.
In my experience as an ordained protestant minister, I have often been consulted on religious and ethical issues related to marriage annulment. The following information is a general summary of marriage annulment criteria and should not be regarded as a substitute for legal advice. For information regarding the application of marriage annulment criteria to your particular situation, an attorney should be consulted.
Marriage Annulment in North Carolina
Marriage annulment in North Carolina requires a court order and is allowable if any one of the following six criteria can be proved in District court:
- The marriage is between two people who are closer in relationship than first cousins.
- The marriage is between double first cousins.
- The marriage involves a male who is under 16 years of age. If the male is between the ages of 14 and 16, and the marriage has been entered into because of a pregnancy and was authorized by a court order, then the marriage is not automatically voidable.
- The marriage involves a female who is under 16 years of age. If the female is between the ages of 14 and 16, and the marriage has been entered into as a result of a pregnancy and was authorized by a court order, then the marriage is not automatically voidable.
- The marriage involves a person who is physically impotent, as diagnosed by a medical doctor.
- The marriage involves persons who are not capable of entering into a contract as a result of want of will or understanding. This includes persons who do not possess an adequate understanding of the nature of a marriage contract and the responsibilities entailed.
- In addition to the above criteria, a bigamous marriage (in which one party already has a living spouse) is considered automatically void. This requires no court action to nullify the marriage.
For more information about marriage annulment in North Carolina, ecclesiastical marriage annulment, and other related topics, check out these online resources:
About the author: Dr. John W. Luton
Before joining the mass communication faculty at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, Dr. Luton served as pastor of churches in Maryland and North Carolina for more than 20 years. He is a licensed clinical pastoral counselor with the National Christian Counselors Association and he holds the advanced certification.
Dr. Luton is also the primary author of Mastering Pastoral Counseling Utilizing Temperament, a Phase II course that is offered by the NCCA as part of its national licensure program for pastoral counselors. The course is used in many seminaries and counselor training centers throughout the nation.
Growing up in northeastern North Carolina,
John Luton marveled as his father told stories about his
childhood and World War II adventures. Bluebird
in Belgium relates those wonderful stories.
Dr. Luton teaches world literature and
mass communication at Elizabeth City State University.
The Lutons have three grown children.