A decree of nullity is a finding that the marriage was void, that there never was a valid marriage.
A divorce is the ending of a valid marriage. There is only one ground, irretrievable breakdown, and this can only be proved by 12 months separation.
A decree of nullity is a finding that the marriage was void, that there never was a valid marriage. Such a decree can only be made on a certain number of specified grounds:-
- Section 51 of the Family Law Act says that An application under this Act for a decree of nullity of marriage shall be based on the ground that the marriage is void.
A marriage is void if a marriage ceremony is entered into but is considered not to be a marriage. Section 23B of the Marriage Act sets out the grounds upon which marriages are void, and they are exhaustive.
What grounds constitute a decree of nullity?
The Court may declare a marriage invalid on the following grounds:
- At the time the parties were married, one of them was married to someone else.
- The parties are in a prohibited relationship.
- The parties did not comply with the laws in relation to the marriage in the place they were married.
- Either party was not of a legal age to marry.
- Either of the parties did not give their real consent to the marriage because:
- consent was obtained by duress or fraud,
- one party was mistaken as to the identity of who they were marrying or the nature of the ceremony,
- one party was mentally incapable of understanding the nature and the effect of the marriage ceremony.
The Court will NOT declare a marriage invalid on the following grounds:
- Non-consummation of the marriage
- Never having lived together
- Family violence or
- Other incompatibility situations.
Your lawyer can assist in all matters involving marriages, separation, divorce, annulment, de-facto issues, and same sex partnerships.