What is annulment?


An annulment voids a marriage and erases all legal traces of its existence. The court orders that no marriage ever existed. This can happen where a marriage is declared to be void or voidable.

A court will set aside a marriage as void in any of the following circumstances:

  • If the ceremony was conducted by a person who is not recognised under South African law as being able to preside over a wedding
  • If the bride is under the age of 15, or the groom is under the age of 18 and did not obtain prior consent from the Minister of Home Affairs
  • If the bride and groom are too closely related
  • If one party is already married
  • If one party was not of sound mind when the marriage took place

A court will set aside a marriage as voidable* in any of the following circumstances:

  • The wife was pregnant with the child of another man at the time of marriage
  • Impotence or sterility
  • Duress or intimidation (one party forces the other into marriage)
  • Fraud or misrepresentation (where one party claims to be something or someone they are not)

*Voidable means capable of being revoked or annulled.

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The information on this website is provided to assist the reader with a general understanding of the law. While we believe the information to be factually accurate, and have taken care in our preparation of these pages, these articles cannot and do not take individual circumstances into account and are not a substitute for personal legal advice. If you have a legal matter that concerns you, please consult a qualified attorney. Simon Dippenaar & Associates takes no responsibility for any action you may take as a result of reading the information contained herein (or the consequences thereof), in the absence of professional legal advice.

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