Author: Shirne Grobler – STBB
3 October 2018
Sometimes a client seeks annulment of a marriage rather than instituting divorce proceedings. When is this an appropriate choice?
The Marriage Act of 1961 provides for annulment of marriages that are either void or voidable. Void marriages are those that are not legal from the start. Examples are where the marriage officer, who solemnized the marriage, did not have the legal capacity to do so; where one of the parties are already married at the time of the conclusion of the marriage; or a marriage without witnesses.
On the other hand, a voidable marriage is one where, amongst other things, one of the spouses was a minor at the time of the conclusion of the marriage and the prescribed consents were not obtained; one of the spouses entered into the marriage under duress; one of the spouses at the time of the conclusion of the marriage, was pregnant by a third party and the other spouse was unaware thereof; or, the marriage was entered into based on a fraudulent misrepresentation e.g. where a spouse misled the other by using a fraudulent identity.