Annulment of marriage in Spain is an important topic in the legal domain (https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-1889-4763). While many people are familiar with divorce, marital annulment is a distinct legal procedure. It entails the nullification of a marriage, treating it as if it never existed. In this legal blog, we will explore key aspects of marital annulment in Spain, including the grounds, procedures, and legal implications.
Do you believe that your marriage has not been valid and want to annul it? Are you unsure if it’s possible? At A&O Abogados, your law firm in Marbella, we explain marital annulment in Spain.
Marital annulment is a legal process that declares a marriage null and void from the outset. In other words, the marriage is considered to have never legally existed. Unlike divorce, which dissolves a valid marriage, annulment establishes that the marriage was never valid in the first place.
Grounds for Marital Annulment
There are various grounds that can lead to the declaration of marital annulment. Some of the most common grounds include:
1. Lack of Consent: If one or both spouses did not provide valid consent when entering into marriage, the marriage may be annulled. This could be due to coercion, error, or an inability to comprehend the significance of the marital commitment. Consent is a fundamental principle in matrimonial law. When marrying, parties must give their consent freely and voluntarily to join in matrimony. This means they must be aware of what they are doing and should not be under coercion, threat, or mistake when entering into marriage. Lack of consent or the presence of vitiated consent can be a reason for annulment.
Causes of Nullity due to Lack of Consent
The grounds that can lead to the declaration of marital annulment in Spain due to lack of consent may vary and may include:
- Coercion: If one of the spouses married under duress, threats, or undue pressure, it is considered that they did not give free consent. This could include situations where a person is forced into marriage against their will, either through physical, emotional, or economic threats.
- Error: If one of the spouses married based on incorrect or misleading information about their partner or the marriage itself, a lack of valid consent can be alleged. This could include cases where fundamental aspects of one of the parties’ identity, such as a prior undissolved marriage, are concealed.
- Incapacity to Understand: If one of the spouses lacked the mental or emotional capacity to comprehend the significance of marriage and its obligations, a lack of valid consent can be alleged. This could apply in cases of severe mental illnesses or other disorders that affect the capacity to understand the marital commitment.
At A&O Abogados, your legal firm in Marbella, we will provide guidance and support during your marital annulment process.
Legal Impediments: If there are legal impediments, such as marriage between close relatives, annulment can be declared. Legal impediments are conditions or restrictions established by law that prohibit marriage between certain individuals or circumstances. These impediments are intended to preserve the legality and morality of marriage. In Spain, the main legal impediments include:
- Consanguinity: Spanish law prohibits marriage between individuals who are closely related, such as siblings, half-siblings, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, among others. The aim of this prohibition is to prevent consanguineous unions that may give rise to genetic problems.
- 2. Undissolved Prior Marriage: If one of the spouses is already married, the existing marriage prevents that person from entering into a new one. This is because the law does not allow the existence of two valid marriages simultaneously.
- 3. Minor Age: In Spain, the law establishes a minimum age for marriage, which is 16 years with the consent of parents or legal guardians. Minors below that age cannot marry legally.
- 4. Marriage to Affinity Relatives: Marriage between a person and the in-laws of their spouse is also prohibited. This is done to avoid conflicts of interest and complicated family relationships.
At A&O Abogados, your law firm in Marbella, we will provide you with guidance and assistance in your marital annulment proceedings.
Prior Marriage: If one of the spouses was already married when they entered into a subsequent marriage, the second marriage may be annulled. The term ‘ligamen‘ refers to the bond or union created by a valid marriage.
A ligamen impediment means that there is a legal barrier preventing one or both spouses from validly entering into a new marriage. In other words, if a person is bound by a prior marital bond, it could be because they are married or have a canonical bond in the case of religious marriages. They cannot enter into a new marriage without the annulment of the previous marriage being declared.
Marital annulment due to a ligamen impediment has significant implications in terms of property and legal rights. Since the marriage is considered to have never existed, the rules of divorce regarding property distribution or alimony do not apply. Each spouse generally retains their own assets and belongings. Additionally, the declaration of nullity due to a ligamen impediment allows the parties the possibility to validly enter into a new marriage once the impediment has been resolved.
In summary, marital annulment due to a ligamen impediment in Spain refers to the declaration of the invalidity of a marriage due to the existence of a prior marital bond or other legal impediments. This legal process has specific causes and a procedure that must be followed with the guidance of a family law specialist and, in some cases, with the involvement of the Church to obtain a declaration of canonical nullity. It is essential to understand the legal implications before embarking on this process, as it can have a significant impact on the rights and assets of the parties involved.
A&O Abogados, your law firm in Marbella, will stand by your side, providing assistance and guidance in your marital annulment case.
Mental or Physical Incapacity: If one of the spouses is mentally or physically incapacitated to enter into marriage, the marriage can be annulled. The causes of marital annulment due to mental or physical incapacity can vary. Mental incapacity can result from mental health issues, such as severe mental illnesses that prevent the person from understanding the scope of their marital commitment. On the other hand, physical incapacity refers to the inability to perform certain acts necessary for marriage due to severe physical disabilities.
The legal process to declare marital annulment due to mental or physical incapacity generally follows a set of established steps.
Firstly, one of the spouses or an interested third party must file a petition for annulment with a competent family court. This petition must include evidence supporting the claim that one or both spouses lacked the necessary capacity to understand the marriage at the time of the wedding.
During the process, it is common to require the assessment of mental health experts or medical professionals to determine the existence of the alleged incapacity. Testimonies and medical evidence can be crucial to support the annulment request. Additionally, medical records, health records, and other types of evidence may be needed to demonstrate the incapacity in question.
Once all necessary evidence and testimonies have been presented, the court will review the case and issue a judgment. If annulment is granted, the marriage will be considered invalid from its inception. This implies that the legal effects of the marriage, such as property division and alimony, will not be applied as in a divorce process. Each spouse generally retains their own assets, and alimony payments are not required due to the invalidity of the marriage.
Regarding the legal implications of annulment due to mental or physical incapacity, it is important to emphasize that this legal remedy is designed to protect individuals who, due to their mental or physical health, were not in a position to comprehend the marital commitment. Annulment provides a legal avenue to rectify situations where a marriage was entered into without one of the parties having the necessary capacity to give valid consent.
At A&O Abogados, your legal team in Marbella, we are at your disposal to provide guidance and assistance in your marital annulment process.
Marital Annulment Procedure
The process of marital annulment in Spain involves a series of legal steps. In general, the procedure includes the following steps:
1. Consultation with a lawyer: The first stage is to seek legal counsel. A family law attorney will be able to guide the interested parties through the process. A&O Abogados, your legal firm in Marbella, will assist and advise you in your marital annulment case.
2. Filing the petition: Once it has been determined that there are legal grounds for annulment, a petition must be filed with a family court.
3.Evidence and testimonies: During the process, evidence will be gathered, and testimonies from witnesses, psychologists, or other experts will be taken, if necessary, to support the annulment request.
4. Judgment: Finally, the judge will issue a judgment declaring whether the marriage is null and void or not. In the event of annulment, the marriage will be considered invalid from its inception.
Marital annulment has important legal implications, as it establishes that the marriage never existed. This means that divorce rules regarding property distribution or alimony do not apply, as it is not considered a valid marriage. Each spouse generally retains their own assets.
Marital annulment in Spain is a significant legal process that involves the nullification of a marriage, treating it as if it never existed. The grounds for seeking annulment are specific and must meet legal requirements. If you are considering marital annulment, it is essential to seek legal advice from a family law attorney to guide you through this complex process. Marital annulment can have significant implications in terms of property and legal rights, so it is important to fully understand the procedure before taking any action.
If you have understood the implications of marital annulment in Spain, you may proceed to read our blog on divorce in Spain https://andradesortegaabogados.es/index.php/en/2023/04/13/the-judicial-process-of-divorce-in-spain/.