State law governs the grounds for annulling a voidable marriage. Couples should not be obligated by the serious duties incident to marriage if both parties did not genuinely intend to be married.
FRAUD is the most prevalent ground for annulment. The MISREPRESENTATION, whether by lies or concealment of the truth, must encompass something directly pertinent to the marriage, such as religion, children, or sex, which society considers the foundation of a marital relationship.
Physical or emotional conditions may also be grounds for annulment, particularly when they interfere with sexual relations or procreation.
Other health conditions providing grounds for annulment include alcoholism, incurable insanity, and epilepsy. The mere existence of one of these conditions is a sufficient ground for an annulment in some states, whereas in others, an annulment may be obtained for fraud if such a condition was concealed.
Courts may also annul marriages that involved lack of consent, mistake, or duress. Lack of consent might arise if one party were senile, drunk, underage, or suffering from serious mental illness, or if there was no genuine intent to marry. A mistake as to some essential element of the marriage may also justify an annulment, for example, if the couple mistakenly believed that one party's insanity or impotence had been cured. Duress arises when one party compels the other to marry against his or her will.
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