Yes, void marriages can be decreed a non-event or an annulment can be granted of a marriage if certain specific grounds are met. The law on annulments is contained in the New York Domestic Relations Law Article 9. If someone was still married, and their spouse still living, when the next marriage takes place, that next marriage is what is called voidable. A case needs to be started, in a New York Supreme Court, to have the marriage declared void in that situation. Of course bigamy is also a felony in this state, but the action in Supreme Court to have the marriage voided is a civil case, not a criminal proceeding. This action can be started by either the husband or wife in that second marriage or by the first wife or husband.
If one of the parties to the marriage was not old enough to consent to getting married, an annulment can be granted. It should be noted that this action can only be started by the person who was under the age of consent, or someone acting on his or her behalf (like a parent or guardian), and not by a party who was over the legal age of consent at the time of the marriage. Also, if the underage person becomes legal age, and then voluntarily lives with the other as wife or husband, afterward then they can not maintain an action for an annulment.
A relative of someone that is mentally retarded and has an interest in annulling the marriage of the retarded person, can initiate the action during the life of either the wife or husband. Annulment cases can proceed by a relative of a mentally ill person, if one of the parties to the marriage was mentally ill, while the illness continues, or after the mentally ill person dies while the illness continues. If the mentally ill person becomes well, that person can proceed with an annulment, however, only if they did not feely live together as husband and wife after the formerly ill person became well. The spouse of the mentally ill person, that was unaware of the illness when they got married, can start an annulment if the spouse was in that condition when the marriage took place. These cases can be brought by someone called a “next of friend”, in some instances, if no relative starts an annulment on behalf of the mentally ill or retarded person. Next of friends are someone that acts on behalf of the incapacitated person, like a parent, relative, or guardian, but does not have an official legal relationship to that person. Continue reading ›