Grounds for Annulment in South Carolina: Further Exploration

Grounds for Annulment in South Carolina: Further Exploration

Southern states including South Carolina are known for having higher divorce rates than any other region in the United States. In fact, the American Community Survey published a study that found there are 11.1 divorces for every 1,000 women and 10.2 divorces for every 1,000 men living in the Southern United States. Rather than becoming part of this statistic, some couples opt to get their marriage annulled as an alternative. However, in order to get an annulment, spouses first have to understand and determine whether their marriage falls under one of the legal grounds for an annulment in South Carolina. This is a fact-specific inquiry that hinges on the particular circumstances of a given case.

Grounds for Annulment in South Carolina

Specifically, under South Carolina law, parties must prove one of the grounds for annulment listed below:

  • One or both spouses were underage when they were married. Specifically, South Carolina permits annulments if one spouse was under 16 years old.
  • The marriage was never consummated. If one or both spouses is unable to consummate the marriage, you may be eligible for an annulment. This is particularly true if you never lived with your spouse.
  • One or both spouses were married to another person at the time of the marriage. Bigamy is illegal in South Carolina. Therefore, if you undergo a second marriage while still legally in your first marriage, your second marriage can be annulled.
  • One or both spouses were mentally incapacitated when you got married. Courts determining whether a spouse was mentally incapacitated at the time of the marriage will look at whether the spouse who was allegedly mentally incapacitated was incapable of validly consenting to the marriage.
  • The spouses are too closely related by blood or marriage. Under South Carolina law, it is illegal to marry someone who is closer than your first cousin.
  • One spouse entered the marriage under a fraudulent misrepresentation made by the other spouse. This situation occurs where one spouse lied about something essential to the marriage. This commonly occurs where prior to the marriage, one spouse claims he or she wants to have children and after the marriage, their spouse discovers they knew their spouse knew they were sterile or never wanted to have children. It should be noted that if a spouse lies about their social standing or wealth, this is not going to be enough to constitute a fraudulent misrepresentation.
  • One or both spouses were under duress when they were married. South Carolina defines duress as occurring when one spouse was under an immediate threat of bodily harm. The immediacy requirement is paramount, as South Carolina courts have previously denied an annulment where the person who claimed they were under duress had the option of running away before the wedding.

Get Help From a Charleston, SC Family Lawyer

Deciding if annulment is the right path for you can be a difficult decision. The experienced Charleston, SC family lawyers at Klok Law Firm, LLC can help you walk you through your options and determine if one of the grounds for annulment applies to your case.

Contact us today for a free consultation.