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An annulment is a legal degree that a marriage never occurred. A marriage can be annulled if there was a serious defect at the time of the marriage ceremony. In North Carolina, marriages can be annulled under the following circumstances:
All marriages between any two persons nearer of kin than first cousins. 
  •  All marriages between double first cousins. 
  •  All marriages between persons either of whom is under 16 years of age. 
  •  All marriages between persons either of whom has a spouse living at the time of the marriage.
  •  All marriages between persons either of whom is at the time physically impotent. 
  •  All marriages between persons either of whom is at the time incapable of understanding the marriage vows.

In addition, a marriage contracted under the belief that the wife is pregnant, followed by the separation of the parties within 45 days of the marriage, which separation was continuous for a period of one year, shall be annulled unless a child was born to the parties within 10 months of the date of separation. Issues of child custody or property division may also be addressed by the court as part of the annulment preceding.

If you and your spouse separate, it is best if you enter into a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a contract between you and your spouse that can provide for spousal support, child custody, visitation rights, and a division of property acquired during the marriage. The agreement can be of enforced by courts if a party does not comply. If the parties later divorce, the terms of the agreement may be included in the divorce judgment.

If you feel that you have been misled, treated fraudulently, or if any of the above circumstances apply, you may make an application before a judge for an annulment of your marriage. If a North Carolina judge agrees that these conditions have been met, he or she will issue an order nullifying the marriage (annulment) that has the effect of restoring both parties to the status of unmarried persons.

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