Long Island
Annulment Attorneys

Void and Voidable Marriages

Getting an Annulment

In New York, the only way to have a marriage declared void– that is, to say it never existed– is to show that one of the parties committed bigamy. If one of the spouses was already married to another person at the time of the marriage ceremony, then that second marriage was invalid from the start, and either party (or the first spouse of the bigamous party) may obtain a Judgment declaring the marriage null and void.

In other situations, a marriage may be “voidable.” This is where an annulment may be appropriate. A voidable marriage is a valid marriage unless and until an annulment is granted. However, not every couple is eligible to get their marriage annulled. Here, our Long Island annulment lawyer explains what you need to prove to get an annulment, and how to decide if an annulment is the best option in your case.

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What are the Grounds for Annulment in New York?

Under New York state law (DRL § 140), you must meet one of several criteria to obtain an annulment. While New York allows couples to seek a ‘no-fault’ divorce on the grounds that they have irreconcilable differences, couples can only obtain an annulment if they meet certain grounds. More specifically, to get your marriage annulled on Long Island, you must be able to prove one of the following:

  1. At least one partner was under the age of legal consent (eighteen years) at the time of the marriage. In this case, either the minor or a parent/guardian of the minor can seek annulment of the marriage, unless the parties cohabit as spouses after both have reached the age of consent. Then, the marriage is no longer voidable.
  2. If one spouse was mentally incapable of providing consent to the marriage, any relative of the incapacitated person may seek an annulment. The other spouse may also file for an annulment, but only if they can prove they did not know of the mental incapacity at the time of the marriage.
  3. If one of the spouses is physically incapable of having sex, such incapacity is incurable, and the marriage is shorter than five years, the injured party may seek an annulment. The incapable spouse may also file for annulment if they were unaware of their incapacity at the time of the marriage, or did not know it was incurable.
  4. If one party’s consent to the marriage was obtained by force, duress, or fraud, the wronged party may seek an annulment. However, a claim based on fraud must be filed within a certain time frame.
  5. If either party is incurably mentally ill for five of more years during the marriage, either party may seek an annulment.

If you are considering getting an annulment, but you are not sure that you are eligible, you should speak to an experienced Long Island divorce attorney. A lawyer will be able to conduct a comprehensive review of your case.

I Am Eligible for an Annulment: Is it Actually the Best Option?

In practice, annulments are rare, in part because of the grounds required, but also because the
law which governs how property is divided and debts are allocated, known as the Equitable Distribution Law, is applied the same whether you file for an annulment or a divorce. Therefore, many people find it easier to file a no-fault divorce case rather than an annulment.

That being said, if you have valid grounds for an annulment, it is your right to pursue it. This may be important to you on a personal level, especially if you were the victim of fraud, force or duress in your relationship. It is important to know, however, that a legal annulment is completely separate from a religious annulment.

Ultimately, these issues all must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you are weighing getting an annulment versus getting a divorce, you should seek guidance from a skilled Long Island annulment lawyer who can help you take the best action to protect your legal rights and financial interests.

Speak to a Long Island Annulment Lawyer Today

At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, P.C., we offer our clients the personalized attention that they deserve. If you are considering getting an annulment in New York, our legal team can help. For a free, fully private initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team. With an office in Hauppauge, NY, we serve communities throughout Long Island.

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When facing a divorce, child custody, or child support case, you deserve a lawyer who will listen to your concerns and take the time to explain your options, and who has the knowledge and experience to give you the best advice.

The best way to identify whether a Long Island divorce lawyer is right for you is to meet for an initial consultation. At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, we are pleased to offer potential clients a free, confidential consultation where they can learn more about our experience and discuss their legal dispute. We can also offer our preliminary assessment about how the dispute will likely turn out as well as what evidence you will need for a favorable outcome.

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Why Choose Petroske Riezenman & Meyers

There are many Long Island attorneys who will promise to aggressively represent your interests in a divorce or family law dispute.

Few have the right mix of attributes to provide cutting-edge legal representation along with compassionate support in this stressful time.

At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, our success is built on three pillars:


Matrimonial and family law changes often. New developments come out of Albany every year, and the courts implement the law in sometimes surprising ways. To effectively protect your interests, you need a lawyer who understands the latest developments in the law, however minor. We stay informed of upcoming amendments and trends in the law. We know the latest court decisions that might impact how a judge views your case. If there is a precedent that supports your claim, we will find it and bring it to the attention of the judge.

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Family law disputes are not like other lawsuits. These disputes are governed by different laws and different judges. Although you can ask a criminal defense lawyer or an immigration attorney to handle your matrimonial or family law dispute, you should not be surprised if they are soon in over their heads and unable to provide effective representation. At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, our attorneys and support staff have dedicated their careers to excellence and professionalism in the practice of matrimonial and family law.

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We are proud to be highly recommended by many satisfied clients we have represented over the years in divorce and Family Court cases.  We have over a century of combined experience, which allows us to perform a complete review of your case and discover facts that work to your advantage. We understand the unique challenges that family law disputes create, such as the risk of domestic violence, impediments to a negotiated resolution, or the possibility of harassing or vexatious litigation. To see the positive results we have achieved for others, check out our Client Reviews.

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