By Francis Ewherido
There are two ways to legally end a marriage: annulment and divorce. Wikipedia defines annulment as “a legal process within secular and religious legal systems to declare a marriage null and void.”
Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered invalid from the start almost as if it never took place. “
On the other hand, Wikipedia says, “Divorce, also known as marriage dissolution, is the process of ending a marriage or marital union.”
Divorce is something we read every day because the courts grant divorce petitions on a daily basis. But cancellations are not frequent. So when I heard the news of the annulment of 30 marriages at Imo, my attention naturally arose. According to the story, the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Imo State annulled all 30 marriages because they were contracted with false certificates. Deception is a major reason for annulling marriages. Deception comes in many forms: false certificates, concealment of vital information, false statements, identity theft, etc.
Marriage is no ordinary affair with the “buyers beware” clause. Normally, during courtship, all parties should exercise the utmost good faith. âThe parties should fully disclose any terms that will cause the other party to think about continuing the relationship. Specifically, if one part is infertile or suffers from a terminal illness, it should be disclosed to the other part.
In addition, if a party is in a precarious financial situation that could seriously affect their finances after marriage, this should be disclosed. The same applies if one of the parties uses a falsified age at the time of the courtship display. If one of the parties is a former prisoner or has ever been married or has children from previous relationships, this should also be disclosed to the other party â(Mudipapa’s Life Lessons, p.250). Medical conditions, such as genotype and HIV status, should also be disclosed. For example, if during courtship the man misled the woman by telling her that he is AA, during this time he is AS, and the woman is also AS; the woman has sufficient grounds to ask for the annulment of the marriage rather than stay there and risk giving birth to carriers of sickle cell disease.
A marriage annulment case can be initiated by either spouse in a marriage. The spouse who initiates the annulment must prove beyond any doubt that he has sufficient grounds to request the annulment and if he succeeds in convincing the marriage court, the marriage will be declared null and void by the church or the court, according to the institution to which it addressed. Beyond deception, other grounds for which marriages can be annulled are: bigamy, forced consent, marriages prohibited by law, inability to consummate a marriage, illness or mental incapacity and the early marriage.
Bigamy simply marries a person when they are already legally married to another person. Some people will wonder where polygamy comes into all of this. These polygamous men did not marry their second, third, or other wives in court or in church. They were celebrated in traditional African wedding ceremonies. As for Islam, it allows Muslims to marry more than one woman.
So there is no such thing as bigamy, at least in Nigeria, until you marry two or more wives in court. Cancellation can also be requested and granted when one of the spouses has been coerced or threatened to marry and only contracted it under duress. We see a lot of such forced marriages in Africa and Asia. Weddings prohibited by law can also be annulled. Such marriages include a father marrying his daughter, a mother marrying her son, and two marrying siblings.
In addition, if one of the spouses was suffering from a mental illness or emotional disturbance at the time of the marriage and withheld it from the other party, the aggrieved spouse has the option of requesting annulment and the annulment. will be granted if the case is proven.
The same applies in the case of a mental disability where one of the spouses was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage and was unable to make informed decisions. In addition, minors cannot marry without parental consent or court approval. If a minor marries without fulfilling these two conditions, that is sufficient grounds for annulment of the marriage. In Nigeria, the age of majority is 18. This is when you are considered an adult.
Finally, the inability to consummate a marriage is a major reason for annulment of the marriage. Consumption means that the couple must have sex after becoming husband and wife, for the marriage to be valid.
For example, two parties had premarital sex, but the man had an accident that made him helpless before the wedding and hid it from the other party. After the marriage, if he is unable to have sexual relations, this marriage is voidable and can be annulled at the request of the injured party. Any premarital sex that they have entered into is of no consequence. He’s not recognized in the church or the law. In fact, for God, it is a serious sin.
Since The Chronicle began over six years ago, divorce has never been a topic, and it is deliberate. This column is intended to promote marital stability and happy marriage. I have no interest in promoting divorce, but we can go over some of the causes of divorce so we all know which landmines to avoid.
One, the lack of communication. Couples should constantly engage in empathetic, sincere, and genuine communication. Once couples are open to each other, there are no issues in their marriage that they cannot discuss and resolve. Two, the lack of forgiveness. We have a divine instruction to forgive one another. Also, as human beings we will always make mistakes, so forgiveness is imperative. But like I said before, know your spouse’s red line and don’t cross it. Also, don’t cross the red line just because he has a divine obligation to forgive you.
Other factors include financial problems, lack of privacy, infidelity, weight gain, constant quarrels, unrealistic or different expectations, abuse, immaturity, addictions, differences in parenting styles, etc. insecurity, external interference, extreme jealousy, lack of contentment, differences in religious orientation, long physical separation, deception, inability to resolve conflicts, lack of shared vision, faulty courtship … we can go on and on .
The basic difference between divorce and annulment is that divorce legally ends a valid marriage, while annulment declares the original marriage invalid. In Christianity, especially Catholicism, it is more fundamental. A divorcee cannot remarry. If he does so, he is excluded from participating in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. But a person whose marriage is annulled may remarry, as it is assumed that they have never been married because the previous marriage was annulled. Cancellation can be granted by both the church and the courts, but the processes are different.