An annulment is a legal procedure to cancel a marriage. It is different from a divorce in that a successful annulment proceeding cancels the validity of the marriage. An annulment granted by a court is different from one granted by a religious organization; churches are not bound to recognize a legal annulment. South Dakota statutes set out specific grounds that must be met in order to obtain an annulment.
Determine the statute that applies to your case. In South Dakota there a specific grounds on which a court can grant an annulment. Some grounds for annulment: Your spouse is in a valid marriage with someone else; your spouse is of unsound mind; or your consent to the marriage was forced or was obtained by fraud. You will also be granted an annulment if your spouse is physically unable to consummate the union or you were married before the age of consent.
Verify that the limitations period has not lapsed. Under the South Dakota statutes, the time period for bringing an action for annulment is four years. There is an exception if your spouse was married to someone else prior to your marriage and that marriage is still in force. In this case, the limitations period is the lifetime of your spouse.
Prepare a complaint detailing the allegations. Your complaint must present evidence to support your claim and be based on one of the statutory reasons for annulment.
File the complaint at the circuit court in the appropriate South Dakota county and pay the required filing fees.
Serve the complaint on your spouse. You will prevail in your suit for annulment if your allegations satisfy the statutory requirements and your spouse does not have grounds to challenge the complaint.
Tips & Warnings
- This article does not constitute legal advice. Consult with an attorney who practices in South Dakota to assess your rights and the risks of litigation.
- Photo Credit US Supreme Court image by dwight9592 from Fotolia.com
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