An annulment of a marriage is different from a divorce in the way that it renders the whole marriage invalid from the beginning. Because of this, there are different legal implications involving children and property. Some people may go through a marriage ceremony as a joke, thinking they can annul it right afterward. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. You may have to legally divorce your unintended spouse afterward instead. 

Keep reading for more information on North Carolina’s annulment laws, including which circumstances can and cannot be legally annulled. 

When can I have a marriage annulled? 

As stated by FindLaw, North Carolina has only a few situations under which you can annul your marriage. 

  • Your marriage was a result of an inaccurate belief of pregnancy, unintended or otherwise 
  • You or your spouse were underage at the time 
  • Either you or your spouse did not consent to the marriage 
  • Either you or your spouse had another spouse at the time (bigamy) 
  • Either you or your spouse is impotent 

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot have your marriage annulled simply due to lack of consummation or a short time frame. 

What other limitations to annulment exist? 

While some states will declare a marriage void regardless of how much time has passed, North Carolina works differently. If the wife is pregnant, for example, the court will not declare the marriage void. It is interesting to note that while North Carolina does not allow minors to marry, cohabitation over the age of 16 will make the marriage ineligible for annulment. So even if you get married illegally at 14-years-old, cohabitating with your spouse while you are 16 or older will establish a valid marriage.