This isn’t Working. How Do I Get My Marriage Annulled in South Carolina?

We all make mistakes in life. Sadly, sometimes one of those mistakes is getting married to the wrong person. In these situations, you might just want a complete do-over. Divorce can seem like a long and intense process. Instead, you might want a proverbial blank slate, a chance to start again from the beginning as though the marriage never even happened. You might want the promise of an annulment.

An annulment is a legal process that essentially cancels out a marriage. It means that from a legal perspective, the marriage never even happened. This differs from a divorce, which legally ends a marriage. We get questions from people asking how they can get their marriage annulled. The sad truth of the matter is that the movies lied to you about this one. 

While it is possible to get a marriage annulled, only a very small percentage of them meet the legal requirements to do so. You cannot just get an annulment because your marriage is not working or because you’ve only been married a short time. Most couples have to get a divorce.

In South Carolina, the grounds for getting an annulment are few and far between. They consist of some very specific situations: if you were forced to get married against your will, if one spouse was still legally married to another person, if a spouse was mentally incapicaitated at the time the marriage happened, if one of the spouses was under sixteen years old at the time of the marriage, if one spouse lied about their identity to get married, if the couple is directly related to each other (we warned you, this doesn’t happen often) and if you never once lived together or consummated your marriage.

Beyond just hope of an easier process, for some couples annulment is a religious issue. Some religions frown upon or even totally disallow divorce. Unfortunately, that is not enough reason to get an annulment in South Carolina. There may be an option to get annulled within your church, which would quell your fears, but this would not be legally recognized. A better option may be to pursue a Decree of Separate Maintenance, which allows you to break up and legally settle child custody, visitation, and property issues while still remaining married.

There is a silver lining to all of this: divorce does not have to be as bad as you have heard. In fact, it often is not! There are all kinds of divorce options that can be catered to match any type of couple. If you want to quietly and quickly make decisions between the two of you, you can do that. If you want to fight it out in court and let a judge decide, you can do that. There is no one size fits all approach to divorce. Divorce, like marriage, can be what you make of it.

We are sorry to have to break the news that the promise of an annulment is, in fact, too good to be true. If any of those situations does apply to you, contact Cate & Brough today to get started on your annulment. For everyone else, we are happy to discuss options for getting a divorce or a Decree of Separate Maintenance. Your journey towards freedom starts today!

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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