Q&A Can a marriage be annulled in cases other than non-consummation?

Q: My wife and I married last year after she became pregnant, and she later gave birth to what I believed was our baby. However, I later discovered my wife had had an affair. She admitted the baby may not be mine and a paternity test has subsequently proved I am not the father. I am devastated, and don’t want anything further to do with her or the baby. I want this marriage to be over as soon as possible and do not want to wait a year.  What can I do?

A: You will not have to wait a year to initiate divorce proceedings, you can get your marriage annulled right away.

Most people think annulment only applies when a marriage has not been consummated by having sex after the marriage. However, in the UK it can be annulled if it can be shown the marriage was never legally valid and therefore ‘void’, or it was ‘defective’ and therefore ‘voidable’.

A marriage can be ‘void’ if the spouses are: closely related, one spouse was under 16 at the time of the marriage, or one spouse was already married to someone else at the time of the marriage.

Reasons for marriage to be considered ‘defective’ and ‘voidable’ would be because: the marriage was never consummated (currently only applicable to opposite sex spouses), one party did not properly consent to the marriage because they were for example drunk or coerced, one spouse had an undisclosed sexually transmitted disease at the time of the marriage, or, as in your case, if the wife was pregnant with someone else’s child when the marriage took place.

Your marriage will therefore be considered defective, so you can apply to a divorce court immediately to have it annulled. A divorce solicitor will be able to set this process in motion for you as well as providing advice in respect of other matters such as concerning financial settlement.

This question has been answered by Deon Hayward, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.

If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, book an appointment by visiting GHP Legal or contacting one of our offices:

Wrexham Office

Email: wrexham@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 291456

Llangollen Office:

Email: llangollen@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 860313

Oswestry Office:

Email: oswestry@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01691 659194

Deon Hayward

Deon Hayward


Part of our Family & Matrimonial team in Oswestry