Annulment and Divorce

Annulment and Divorce

Annulment is a declaration by the court that a marriage was not legally valid or had become legally invalid. Annulment is different from divorce. In a divorce you are asking the court to end your marriage. However; in an annulment you are actually stating to a court that your marriage was never legal in the first place or, even if it was, it has since become legally invalid. An annulment must usually be for one of the following reasons:

  • If either party was already married at the time of your marriage
  • If either party didn’t or was unable to give valid consent to the marriage
  • If you or your spouse were under 16 at the time of the wedding
  • If you weren’t a male/female couple
  • If you and your spouse were related at the time of the marriage
  • If your spouse had a communicable form of a sexually transmitted disease when you got married
  • If your spouse was pregnant with someone else’s child and you didn’t know about it
  • If you didn’t conform with the proper legal requirements at the time of the marriage

Annulment is a very specialised area of the law and not at all straight-forward. If you feel that you have grounds to seek an annulmentof your marriage, you will need to discuss your particular circumstances in detail with one of our family lawyers who specialises in this area of law.

Applications for annulment are made to the court by presenting a ‘Nullity Petition’ within a reasonable period of time, usually within three years of the marriage. Unlike for divorce there is no requirement to have been married for 12 months before applying.

How long does it take and how much does it cost?

If the court finds that you are eligible and the case is uncontested by your spouse, an annulment petition will usually take between six to nine months to process. Unlike divorce, for an annulment you will almost always have to attend court in person with your lawyer.

In a case which is uncontested we can arrange an annulment for a fixed fee of £1,200 plus VAT and the Court fee of £340. Book a fixed fee annulment here.

Alternatively, if you are uncertain of your circumstances, we offer a free 30 minute telephone consultation to assess your position. Call us during normal office hours on 020 8401 7352 or email us your enquiry at Please remember to include your name and a contact telephone number when emailing us.  

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