In Pennsylvania, a marriage can be dissolved by annulment, rather than by divorce, under specific circumstances. If a marriage qualifies under the law to be annulled, either party may bring an action in annulment to have the marriage declared void. Unlike divorce, an annulment voids a marriage and it is as if it never occurred at all. Two types of marriages can be annulled: void and voidable. A void marriage is one that was never valid and therefore must be annulled; a voidable marriage is one that can be annulled based on its circumstances.
Section 3304 of the Divorce Code indicates that a marriage shall be deemed void where one of four circumstances exist. If either party was marriage to another person at the time of the marriage, the second marriage is deemed void and can be annulled. If the parties are related to one another by consanguinity, the marriage is deemed void. If either party was incapable of providing consent to marry due to serious mental illness, insanity, or another reason rendering it impossible for a party to consent or where either party did not intend to consent, that marriage is void and can be annulled. If either party was under the age of 18 at the time of marriage, the marriage shall be deemed void.
Section 3305 of the Divorce Code indicates that a marriage shall be deemed voidable and subject to annulment under five scenarios. If either party was 16 or 17 years old at the time of marriage, and lacked parental consent or court order to marry, and the marriage has not been subsequently ratified upon the party reaching the age of 18, the marriage is voidable if a request for annulment is filed within 60 days of the marriage ceremony. If either party was under 16 years of age, without express authorization of a court, the marriage is voidable. If either party was, at the time of the marriage, and is still naturally and incurably impotent, that marriage is voidable unless the other party knew about the condition prior to marriage. If either party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of a marriage, and an annulment action is filed within 60 days of the marriage ceremony, the marriage is voidable and subject to annulment. If one party was induced to enter into marriage due to fraud, duress, coercion, or force attributable to the other party, and there is no subsequent voluntary cohabitation after knowledge of the fraud or release from the effects of fraud, duress, coercion, or force, the marriage is voidable and subject to annulment.
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