By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)
Q. I recently got married, and a week after the marriage my wife left me, informing me the marriage was at an end. I have not heard from her since, but I am anxious to resolve issues. I do not want to go down the divorce route for religious reasons. I have been told I could apply for an annulment. Could you advise me as to whether I can and what the procedure is?
A: It is difficult to give you specific advice without knowing personal details about the marriage. I set out below some generic advice regarding this issue, however a family solicitor will be able to provide you with specific advice.
A marriage can be annulled on one of two basis. It can be annulled because your marriage was not legally valid in the first place. It is known as a void marriage.
The second is that the marriage was defective. This would be based on the following circumstances: It was not consummated; You didn't properly consent to the marriage; Your wife had a sexually transmitted disease when you got married; or your wife was pregnant by another man when you got married.
An annulment on the basis of these facts is known as a voidable marriage. You can apply for an annulment any time after the wedding, but to apply for a divorce you would have to wait for one year from the date of marriage.
In order to apply for an annulment you would need to complete a nullify petition and file it at court with the fee. If you have children you will need to also complete a statement of arrangements for children (irrespective of whether they are your natural children).
Your wife will have eight days to respond to the petition. If she agrees with it you can apply for a decree nisi. You will also need to complete a statement in support of your application. You will be able to apply for your decree of nullity six weeks after the decree nisi. Once you receive this, it is confirmation the marriage has been dissolved.
Applying for annulment is not as straightforward as divorce as there may be evidential proof that the court wants to see.
It would therefore be wise to have a consultation with a family solicitor.