Annulments are only granted in very limited circumstances and as such are not nearly as common as divorce. In essence an annulment makes the marriage disappear and so is very rarely granted where the parties had a child together, because the annulment would leave the legal status of the child in limbo.
Generally speaking, for you to be granted an annulment, your marriage will likely have been of short duration and the party seeking the annulment must plead specific facts establishing grounds such as Fraud or Misrepresentation, Concealment or Lack of Physical or Mental Capacity.
A Fraudulent Marriage is where one spouse leads the other spouse to believe something that forms part of the inducement to marry – in other words telling a lie to convince the other person to get married. For example, if a man told her prospective wife he could have children, and the prospective wife would only marry if he could have children, and the man knew he could not in fact have children, the basis of the marriage was a fraud – it was as if the man tricked the woman into marriage.
Concealment is closely related to fraud and consists of the deliberate hiding of a critical fact that, if disclosed, would have caused the other party not to enter marriage. So, if one party intentionally fails to mention he has HIV or she has terminal cancer, and the other party would not have married if the withheld fact had been known, an annulment would be available.
Lack of Physical Capacity refers to the refusal or inability to consummate the marriage. If one party has been incapable of or simply refused to consummate the marriage by engaging in sexual intercourse, an annulment would be an option.
Because an annulment would render the marriage non-existent, the trial court that grants an annulment cannot also make dispositions of property. So, parties considering annulment should think about the potential financial consequences of annulment versus divorce, and only an experienced attorney can properly advise you as to whether the circumstances of your marriage would support certain financial relief.