A marriage annulment in Ontario is a rare process used to end a marriage that was never valid. This is based on the principle that the marriage in question was not a legal contract from the start.
Annulments are different from divorce where the spouses are ending a valid marriage. The process of marriage annulment in Ontario requires a court order that states the marriage is void.
Annulments in Ontario are governed under the Annulment of Marriages Act (AMA) and the Supreme Court of Ontario has jurisdiction over these annulments. Seeing as this process is less common than divorce or separation, you may be wondering what qualifies a marriage as void under Ontario law and how to get a marriage annulled.
What Qualifies You For An Annulment?
There are several circumstances that may qualify you for an annulment in Ontario. The examples listed below are the most common, however, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer to gain legal advice for your particular situation. To get a marriage annulled in Ontario, you must prove to the court that there is a legal reason for your marriage to be found void. Some examples of proof that your marriage is void are as follows.
- One spouse was a minor without written parental consent to marry. Under the Marriage Act 5(2), minors 16 years of age or older can get married with parental consent.
- The marriage was fraudulent or entered under duress or fear. This may include threats of violence or domestic abuse. Under the Criminal Code of Canada under section 293(1) Forced Marriage, it is illegal for anyone to participate in or aid a forced marriage. This proves a marriage to be void and can lead to potential criminal charges and imprisonment.
- The inability of one spouse to consent or not having the capacity to consent to marry. If one spouse is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or lacks mental capacity, under the Marriage Act section 7, a marriage license may not be granted.
- One spouse was already married without the knowledge of the other spouse. It is a crime to marry two people at the same time in Canada. Under the Criminal Code section 290 (1) you can be charged with Bigamy which voids a marriage.
- If either spouse is a close blood or an adopted relative, the marriage is void. In Canada, under the Marriage Act (Prohibited Degrees) section 2(2), marriage between siblings, half-siblings and adoptive siblings is prohibited.
If any of the above conditions are true of a marriage, then under Ontario Law, it would be void and create grounds for annulment.
What to Consider
While an annulment demonstrates that a marriage was not valid in the first place, there may still be legal responsibilities upon annulment of the marriage. These responsibilities include issues of spousal support, child support and property division. An experienced lawyer at Epstein & Associates can help you navigate and advise you through this process.
At Epstein & Associates, we have the legal expertise and the experience to help you understand the circumstances that lead to an annulment and proceed through the process. Having a legal representative help you through the court process will ensure you are being properly advocated for.
This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.