What Is the Law for Annulments in the State of Oregon?
By Jim Thomas
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If you are contemplating an annulment of your marriage, you should know that grounds for an annulment are limited in Oregon. Annulments are allowed only if the parties are incapable of entering into a marriage contract due to an insufficiency of legal age or understanding, or if the consent of either party was the result of fraud or force. You must be 18 — or 17 with parental consent — to legally marry in Oregon.
Void and Voidable Marriages
A void marriage is one that was invalid and never actually existed. For example, if one of the parties was already married or if the parties are first cousins or nearer, the marriage would be automatically void. Court action is not necessary to set aside a marriage that is void. A voidable marriage, on the other hand, is a marriage that can be cancelled if you contest it in court and have valid grounds for setting it aside. Annulments fall into the category of a voidable marriage; when an annulment is granted, the dissolved marriage is treated as if it never existed.
Fraud or Force
If you are forced or tricked into marriage by fraud or duress in Oregon, you can file to have the union annulled. If someone marries you solely to obtain legal citizenship in the United States, for example, you have grounds for an annulment. If someone threatens to harm your children unless you marry him, you have grounds for an annulment. However, the American Legal Journal states that a fraud must directly affect the "very foundation of the marriage." So false representations by your spouse about his character, reputation or habits might not be sufficient for an annulment.
Under Oregon statute 107.095, the court can provide child support or spousal support after the petition for annulment is filed and before the case is finally decided, just as in a divorce proceeding. One party might be ordered to pay the expenses of the other party to proceed with the annulment case, and the court has the authority to require one party to move out of a shared residence during the annulment proceeding.
Final Judgment Orders
When the court grants an annulment, it has the authority to provide the same kinds of relief as in a divorce case. Custody of minor children born during the marriage or minor children born to the parties prior to the marriage is determined according to a parenting plan approved by the court. Oregon law encourages joint custody and close contact with both parents. Child support and spousal support, when appropriate, also are included in the final judgment annulling the marriage.
- Oregon State Bar: Marriage in Oregon
- University of Oregon Legal Services Family Law: Legal Separation & Annulment
- Lawyerment: What is a Void Marriage? What is a Voidable Marriage? What are the Differences?
- The Oregon Divorce Blog: Divorce Myths: The Differences Between and Annulment, Legal Separation, and a Divorce
- Oregon Laws: 2011 ORS 107.095
- Oregon Laws 2011 ORS 107.105
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.