Sunday, April 20, 2008

Annulment in Indiana: What Makes a Good Case?

Does a spouse getting married for revenge on an ex-boyfriend, saying that she never loved her husband, qualify as grounds for an annulment?

I wrote a general overview of Indiana's annulment law in Annulment in Indiana. Reading that post again, I notice that I did not even offer a link to Indiana's annulment statutes. However, it still is a good overview of annulment.

The case described above would be a fraud case under IC 31-11-10-2 and 31-11-9-3:

Action by victim of fraud; defense
(a) This section applies to a marriage that is voidable under IC 31-11-9-3 on the ground that the marriage was brought about through fraud on the part of one (1) of the parties to the marriage.
(b) The alleged victim of fraud described in subsection (a) may file an action to annul the marriage in a court that has jurisdiction over the action under section 3 of this chapter.
(c) It is a defense in an action brought under this section that, after the discovery of the alleged fraud, the alleged victim continued to cohabit with the other party to the marriage.
Anyone thinking about an annulment where the other spouse may contest the case, needs to take a hard look at 31-11-10-2(c).

Which raises an important difference between annulments and divorce: the petitioner in an annulment case faces the very real chance of losing the case. Remember that in an annulment case, the petitioner must prove the fraud and all its elements whereas in a divorce the petitioner must only say that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Which leaves me still wondering why anyone having a case where the grounds would be fraud or age or mental incompetence would choose annulment over divorce.

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