An annulment is different from a divorce because with an annulment, it’s like the marriage didn’t happen at all. The parties to an annulment get a “do over.” However, you only have a certain period of time to ask for an annulment.
In comparison, a prohibited marriage is void from the beginning. The marriage was never lawful, so there’s no need to get an annulment or divorce. Prohibited marriages in Kentucky include having more than one wife or marriage to close family.
The following table explains the main Kentucky annulment and prohibited marriage laws.
|Code Sections||Kentucky Revised Statutes Title 402 – Marriage|
|Grounds for Annulment||
Kentucky courts can declare any of the following marriages void:
However, marriages aren’t void due to the person solemnizing the wedding being ineligible to legally solemnize the marriage. This requires the marriage to be consummated with at least one of the parties believing the officiant had the appropriate authority and that they are legally married.
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment||
Each type of annulment must be completed within a certain time period, as listed below:
|Legitimacy of Children||Children born of prohibited or void marriages are legitimate. However, since illegitimate children are a constitutionally protected group now, it’s not as important in modern times as this previously was.|
|Prohibited Marriages||Kentucky prohibits all of the following types of marriages:
Kentucky law was emphatically anti-same-sex marriage. Not only did Kentucky have a state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to between one man and one woman, the state also had a statute describing marriage as between one man and one woman. On top of that, there was a statute explicitly stating that marriage of same-sex individuals in other state or country are void in Kentucky and Kentucky courts won’t enforce any marriage or divorce rights.
The 6th district, which includes Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, upheld those states' same-sex marriage bans in November 2014, making Kentucky a late-holdout state. In June of 2015, however, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court held that state bans on same-sex marriage and state refusals to acknowledge same-sex marriages lawfully entered into in other states violated the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection.
Unless Kentucky is able to construct a new statute or constitutional provision that manages to circumvent this ruling, same-sex marriage is no longer prohibited in the state.
|Cousin Marriage||Any marriage between persons more closely related than whole or half-blood than second cousins are prohibited as incestuous and void. However, Indiana across the Ohio river does permit first cousin marriages for older adults.|
If you’re marriage is breaking up and you aren’t sure if you’re eligible for an annulment or a divorce, you should speak with an experienced Kentucky family law attorney. A good attorney will walk you through your options and their legal and financial consequences.
Note: Because state laws change constantly, it’s important to verify the laws you’re researching by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable attorney.
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