Annulment and Family Law
A district court judge can annul a marriage by declaring it void in a few very narrow circumstances.
The North Carolina statute governing marriages says, “All marriages between any two persons nearer of kin than first cousins, or between double first cousins, or between a male person under 16 years of age and any female, or between a female person under 16 years of age and any male, or between persons either of whom has a husband or wife living at the time of such marriage, or between persons either of whom is at the time physically impotent, or between persons either of whom is at the time incapable of contracting from want of will or understanding, shall be void.” There are a few exceptions to these rules. First, if a couple live together and have a child and then one of the parents dies, the marriage cannot be declared void (except for bigamy). A bigamous marriage can never be a valid marriage. Second, a marriage cannot be declared void when one spouse is under 16 years of age and the girl is pregnant, or a child is born to the parties, unless such child dies. Third, if a couple marries because the female claims she is pregnant, and the parties separate within 45 days of the marriage and the separation is continuous for a period of one year, then the marriage can be annulled, unless a child is born to the parties within 10 months of the separation. Annulment is a rare occurrence in North Carolina. Generally, if a marriage is going to be lawfully ended, the process will be by divorce after a year of separation.