What is nullity of marriage?
When a marriage has been rendered null and void, it is a declaration by the courts that no valid marriage ever existed between the parties. This means that in the eyes of the law, this marriage was never valid. Following an annulment, parties return to their single status, as opposed to a divorce where parties will have the title of a divorcee. Parties seeking to annul the marriage can do so on the grounds that the marriage is either void or voidable. While a void marriage is one which is unlawful in nature and is deemed void under the law regardless of whether it has been annulled, a voidable marriage is legally valid till one party files for annulment. Here are some examples of marriages that will be deemed void in Singapore under Section 105 of the Women’s Charter:
- Marriages between Muslims that were solemnised or registered under the Women’s Charterinstead of the Administration of Muslim Law Act;
- Marriages where one party to the marriage is below the age of 18;
- Marriages of an incestuous nature (where parties are closely related);
- Same-sex marriages; and
- Marriages that were not properly solemnised.
Section 106 of the Women’s Charter sets out an exhaustive list of grounds on which a marriage in Singapore will be deemed voidable:
- That the marriage has not been consummated owing to the wilful refusal on one party to consummate it;
- That the marriage has not been consummated owing to the incapacity of either party to consummate it;
- Where at the time of the marriage the defendant was pregnant by some person other than the plaintiff;
- That either party did not validly consent to the marriage, whether in consequence of duress, mistake, mental disorder or otherwise;
- That at the time of the marriage either party, though capable of giving a valid consent, was suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2008 of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage;
- That at the time of the marriage the defendant was suffering from a contagious sexually transmitted disease.
ABOUT PKWA FAMILY LAW At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore family lawyers by respected independent legal publications such as Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review, Global Law Experts and Doyle’s Guide to Singapore Family Lawyers. At PKWA Law, we offer a free legal consultation for you to find out if you satisfy the requirements for a nullity of marriage. Contact us at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation.