An annulment of marriage in North Carolina is not as easy to obtain as one might think. To get an annulment, you must meet specific criteria. There are many reasons why a court will annul a marriage, but the couple has to meet requirements set by the state. Let’s look at what an annulment is and how you can get an annulment in NC.

What is an Annulment of Marriage?

An annulment of marriage is a legal process that voids a marriage. An annulment declares that a marriage is not legally valid and never existed. In order to obtain an annulment, there must be proof that the marriage should never have happened in the first place.

Reasons You Can Get an Annulment in NC

There are many reasons why you can get an annulment in NC. Some of these reasons include if one spouse is:

  • Already married to someone else at the time of the current marriage
  • Physically impotent or unable to consummate the marriage
  • Incompetent or incapable of consenting to the marriage
  • Under the age of 16 when the marriage took place

Annulment is also possible if the spouses are:

  • Siblings
  • Double first cousins: When two sisters marry two brothers, their children are double first cousins

How to Get an Annulment in NC

If you want to get an annulment and these situations apply to your marriage, you can file a petition with the clerk of court in the county where you live. The petition must state one of the grounds for annulment. Once you file the petition, your spouse will be served with papers telling them about the annulment case.

Your spouse will then have a chance to respond to the annulment. If your spouse does not respond, the court may grant you an annulment without a hearing. If your spouse does respond, there will be a hearing where both spouses can present evidence. After the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to grant the annulment.

If you want to get an annulment but are unsure if you meet the requirements, you should talk to a lawyer. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand your options and guide you through the process.

When You Need a Divorce Instead of Annulment

An annulment is only for cases where the marriage legally should not have happened. You cannot get an annulment based on:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Your spouse lied to you, and you feel like your marriage was a sham
  • One spouse changes their mind about children
  • Clinical insanity of one spouse after you’re married
  • Domestic violence or abuse
  • Coma or vegetative state of a spouse after marriage

In the examples above, you can’t get an annulment. However, just because an annulment isn’t possible doesn’t mean you have to stay married. In NC, you can legally get a divorce instead.

Filing for Divorce

North Carolina is a “no-fault divorce” state. You can divorce your spouse while keeping the focus off blame and working together to settle your differences. When you work together to come up with the terms of your divorce, your divorce is more straightforward and less expensive. 

Working through your divorce issues outside of the courtroom is called an “uncontested” divorce. Finding an experienced family law attorney can help you and your spouse work through the terms of separation and divorce agreements together.

Before filing for an uncontested divorce, you must meet these criteria:

  • One of you has lived in NC for at least 6 months
  • You do not want alimony, or you can agree upon the amounts
  • You do not need a court-ordered division of property
  • You have lived separate and apart from each other for at least 1 year
  • You and your spouse can agree on child support, custody, and visitation issues

If you can’t work out your differences together, you’ll need attorneys to negotiate agreements, or you can take your differences into the courtroom for a judge to decide. However you choose to divorce, your family law attorney can help you every step of the way.

We Can Help

At Plekan Law, we work with you to find the best solution to end your marriage. If the wedding should never have happened, we can help you get an annulment. However, most marriages that end need a divorce. 

Contact us to find the best resolution for your situation. We often help couples get a straightforward and uncontested divorce. However, if you and your spouse can’t agree on the major issues, we fight for your spousal rights in the courtroom. Contact us today and find out how we can help you get through this challenging time in your life.


  1. https://www.womenslaw.org/laws/nc/divorce


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