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Iowa Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

When we think about getting married, many of us imagine it's as simple as saying, "I do." We don't normally consider all of the legal restrictions regarding marriage that might say, "You can't." Not all Hawkeye State marriages are allowed and some marriages may be deemed illegitimate after the fact. And there are several state statutes that will determine if you're eligible for marriage or if your marriage was legal in the first place. This is an introduction to annulment and prohibited marriage laws in Iowa.

Annulments and Prohibited Marriages

Though it seems simple, the legal proceedings surrounding marriage actually have strict rules, with each state having its own set of annulment and prohibited marriage laws that prohibit marriages under certain circumstances. Many of Iowa's prohibited marriages focus on those within the family, and marriages may be annulled (legally dissolved) if one of the parties lacked the capacity to consent. Iowa also prohibits marriages if either party has a prior marriage that has yet to be dissolved.

Annulment Laws in Iowa

The chart below lists the details of Iowa's annulment and prohibited marriage statutes.

Code Sections

Iowa Code 595.2: Marriage gender and age; Iowa Code 598.29, et seq.: Annulling Illegal Marriage

Grounds for Annulment

Prohibited; impotency; prior marriage undissolved; lacking capacity to consent; underage

Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment


Legitimacy of Children

Children of annulled marriage are legitimate unless court finds otherwise upon proof

Prohibited Marriages

Undissolved prior marriage; between descendant and ancestor, brother and sister, aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, first cousins; same sex

Same-Sex Marriage in Iowa

Although Iowa's marriage statute says, "Only marriage between a male and a female is valid," the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in 2009. At the time, Iowa was just the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Since then the U.S. Supreme Court, in the landmark 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges, ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. FindLaw's Same-Sex Marriage section has more information and updates on the latest same-sex marriage developments, including a list of states that allow same-sex marriage.

Iowa Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws: Related Resources

State statutes regarding the marriage process can be complicated, whether you're wondering if you can get married, or if you're wondering if your existing marriage was legal to begin with. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's sections on Annulment, Divorce, and Iowa Family Law. You can also consult with an Iowa divorce attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a marriage issue.

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