Ending a Marriage
There may be several reasons as to why a marriage has broken down. Ending a marriage is a serious matter that shouldn’t be entered into lightly without the aid of professional help.
Marriages may be annulled, couples may separate perpetually, but in most cases the final ending is divorce.
Annulment – Decree of Nullity
An annulment is a court order instructing that a marriage be considered at an end, or should never have legally taken place in the first instance.
Reasons that an annulment may take place could be because of one of the following circumstances:
* the marriage ceremony was not conducted properly.
* the marriage is polygamous – more than one spouse.
* non-consummation – no sex during the course of the marriage.
* failing or refusal to consummate the marriage – refusal to have, or an unceasing dislike to having sexual intercourse with the other spouse.
* one party was suffering from a sexually transmitted infection (STI) at the time of marriage.
* the woman was carrying another mans child at the time of marriage.
* one of the partners was under the age of 18 at the time of marriage. (Consent may be given from the underage partners parents between the age of 16 – 18years making the marriage legal.)
* the marriage was contracted under duress.
* one partner lacked the mental capacity to fully understand what was happening at the time of marriage.
* too closely blood related – examples of this are: parent and child, grandparent and grandchildren, brothers and sisters of half as well as whole blood, uncles and nieces of half as well as whole blood, aunts and nephews of half as well as whole blood, first cousins of half as well as whole blood.
Separation is when a married couple cease to live together as man and wife. One partner can move out of the marital home or they can both remain under the same roof, separating their lives into different rooms and leading them as if they weren’t married.
There are several ways in which a married couple may agree to separate where each method has its own formalities, drawbacks, and limitations. Couples contemplating separation should ideally consult their local citizens advice bureau or solicitor. None of the following reasons are legal endings to a marriage, however having a separation agreement may go to showing the divorce courts that the couple has agreed on certain aspects;
* deed of separation – the couple ask a solicitor to draw up a legal document in which their agreements are recorded. This may cover parental responsibility, maintenance payments, and ownership agreements of certain items and property.
* Judicial separation – a half way house that falls short of a divorce. It involves the courts to recognise in a formal decree the fact that the couple is living apart.
* informal agreement – the couple agree verbally or exchange letters establishing a written agreement to separate.