Nullity of Marriage

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Nullity of Marriage


What is Nullity of Marriage?

Nullity of Marriage is a declaration by a court that your marriage was never legally valid from the start. The court issues a Decree of Nullity which declares that your marriage is null and void and no longer exists.

This is a Civil Decree. It should not be confused with a Church Annulment, which is declared by an ecclesiastical tribunal. Nor should it be confused with divorce, which is the legal ending of a valid marriage.

What Are the Grounds for Nullity of Marriage in Ireland?

There are several specific grounds upon which a court may nullify a marriage in Ireland. You must prove these to the Court. The various grounds include:

  • If one party did not give valid, full, free and informed consent to the marriage
  • The couples could not validly enter into the marriage e.g. If one party was already married, or underage
  • If one party is unable to perform the complete sexual act with the other
  • If there is an inability to form and sustain a normal marital relationship e.g. if one party were suffering from a psychiatric illness or personality disorder of sufficient degree, unknown to the other at the time of marriage.

How to Apply for Nullity of Marriage

Applications for Nullity are less common today, in post-divorce Ireland. It can still be a suitable option for some people, depending on individual circumstances. However, making an application to court can be difficult. You need to provide proof to cover the specific grounds for Nullity. In some cases, the court may require professional assessment and reports.

Nullity cannot be negotiated outside of court. If you think you may have grounds for a Civil Nullity, it’s important that you consult with an experienced family lawyer. You will need to provide an exact and detailed background to the circumstances of the marriage. You will also need to cover the time leading up to it, and the marriage itself will need to be examined.

You also need to consider the consequences of securing nullity – read more here.

If you need advice or support on nullity of marriage, please call Alan Finnerty on 01 637 6200. Or you can email him at

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Orpen Franks Solicitors LLP

28 & 30 Burlington Road, Dublin 4, Ireland

Telephone: +353 1 637 6200

Facsimile: +353 1 637 6262