A report on Annulment

Legal procedure within secular and religious legal systems for declaring a marriage null and void.

- Annulment

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Marriage

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Culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses.

Culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses.

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Swedish royal wedding clothes from 1766 at Livrustkammaren in Stockholm
Indonesian wedding
Nepali wedding
Islamic wedding
Ancient Sumerian depiction of the marriage of Inanna and Dumuzid
In an 1828 "Wife Wanted" advertisement, an Englishman claiming a "great taste for building" pledges to apply a prospective wife's dowry-like £1000+ to build property that will be "settled on her for life".
Family chart showing relatives who, in Islamic Sharia law, would be considered mahrim (or maharem): unmarriageable kin with whom sexual intercourse would be considered incestuous.
An arranged marriage between Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain.
Criticism about the Azeri society tradition from domestic violence to the social and political participation of women in the community
Traditional, formal presentation of the bridewealth (also known as "sin sot") at an engagement ceremony in Thailand
Couple married in a Shinto ceremony in Takayama, Gifu prefecture.
A newly married Assyrian couple.
Various advocates of same-sex marriage, such as this protester at a demonstration in New York City against California Proposition 8, consider civil unions an inferior alternative to legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
"Esposas de Matrimonio" ("Wedding Cuffs"), a wedding ring sculpture expressing the criticism of marriages' effects on individual liberty. Esposas is a play on Spanish, in which the singular form of the word esposa refers to a spouse, and the plural refers to handcuffs.
Countries where married women are required by law to obey their husbands as of 2015.
Christ and the woman taken in adultery by Jan Brueghel the Elder, Pinakothek
Magdalene laundries were institutions that existed from the 18th to the late 20th centuries, throughout Europe and North America, where "fallen women", including unmarried mothers, were detained. Photo: Magdalene laundry in Ireland, ca. early 20th century.
Anti-dowry poster in Bangalore, India.
The Outcast, by Richard Redgrave, 1851. A patriarch casts his daughter and her illegitimate baby out of the family home.
Percentage of births to unmarried women, selected countries, 1980 and 2007.
A man and woman exchange rings
Crowning during Holy Matrimony in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church and a part of the Saint Thomas Christian community in India
Christian wedding in Kyoto, Japan
Russian orthodox wedding ceremony
A couple following their marriage in the Manti Utah Temple
Newlywed couples visit Timur's statues to receive wedding blessings in Uzbekistan.
A Muslim bride of Pakistan origin signing the nikkah nama or marriage certificate.
A Muslim couple being wed alongside the Tungabhadra River at Hampi, India.
A Jewish wedding, painting by Jozef Israëls, 1903
A Ketubah in Hebrew, a Jewish marriage-contract outlining the duties of each partner.
Hindu marriage ceremony from a Rajput wedding.
A Nepali Hindu couple in marriage ceremony.
Seuso and his wife
Woodcut. How Reymont and Melusina were betrothed / And by the bishop were blessed in their bed on their wedlock. From the Melusine, 15th century.
A marriage in 1960 in Italy. Photo by Paolo Monti.
Newlyweds after a civil ceremony in the tower of Stockholm City Hall in 2016
U.S States, by the date of repeal of anti-miscegenation laws:
No laws passed
Repealed before 1887
Repealed between 1948 and 1967
Overturned on 12 June 1967

Divorce and remarriage, while generally not encouraged, are regarded differently by each Christian denomination, with certain traditions, such as the Catholic Church, teaching the concept of an annulment.

Void marriage

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Marriage that is unlawful or invalid under the laws of the jurisdiction where it is entered.

Marriage that is unlawful or invalid under the laws of the jurisdiction where it is entered.

In some jurisdictions a void marriage must still be terminated by annulment, or an annulment may be required to remove any legal impediment to a subsequent marriage.

St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world

Catholic Church

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Largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide.

Largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide.

St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world
The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (c. 110 AD). Ignatius of Antioch is also attributed the earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Χριστιανισμός) c. 100 AD. He died in Rome, with his relics located in the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano.
This fresco (1481–82) by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine Chapel shows Jesus giving the keys of heaven to Saint Peter.
The Last Supper, a late 1490s mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci, depicting the last supper of Jesus and his twelve apostles on the eve of his crucifixion. Most apostles are buried in Rome, including Saint Peter.
Jesus' commission to Saint Peter
19th-century drawing by Henry William Brewer of Old Saint Peter's Basilica, originally built in 318 by Emperor Constantine
Chartres Cathedral, completed 1220
The Renaissance period was a golden age for Catholic art. Pictured: the Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo
Ruins of the Jesuit Reduction at São Miguel das Missões in Brazil
While, since the 1960s, Pope Pius XII has been accused of not having done enough to shelter Jews from the Holocaust, his defenders claim he secretly encouraged individual Catholic resistance groups, such as that led by priest Heinrich Maier. Maier helped the allies fight against the V-2, which was produced by concentration camp prisoners.
Members of the Canadian Royal 22e Regiment in audience with Pope Pius XII, following the Liberation of Rome in 1944 during World War II
Bishops listen during the Second Vatican Council
Pope John Paul II was credited as a major influence to the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism. Here with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, in 1982.
Francis is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City. He was elected in the 2013 papal conclave.
C. 1210 manuscript version of the traditional Shield of the Trinity theological diagram
The Blessed Virgin Mary is highly regarded in the Catholic Church, proclaiming her as Mother of God, free from original sin and an intercessor.
Mass at the Grotto at Lourdes, France. The chalice is displayed to the people immediately after the consecration of the wine.
Baptism of Augustine of Hippo as represented in a sculptural group in Troyes Cathedral (1549), France
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Eucharist at the canonisation of Frei Galvão in São Paulo, Brazil on 11 May 2007
A Catholic believer prays in a church in Mexico
The Seven Sacraments Altarpiece triptych painting of Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) with oil being administered by a priest during last rites. Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445.
Priests lay their hands on the ordinands during the rite of ordination.
Wedding mass in the Philippines
Catholic religious objects – Holy Bible, crucifix and rosary
East Syrian Rite wedding crowning celebrated by a bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India, one of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the pope and the Catholic Church.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta advocated for the sick, the poor and the needy by practicing the acts of corporal works of mercy.
Allegory of chastity by Hans Memling
Pope Paul VI issued Humanae vitae on 25 July 1968.

In the face of increased criticism from both within and without, the church has upheld or reaffirmed at various times controversial doctrinal positions regarding sexuality and gender, including limiting clergy to males, and moral exhortations against abortion, contraception, sexual activity outside of marriage, remarriage following divorce without annulment, and against same-sex marriage.

Portrait of Henry VIII after Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1537–1562

Henry VIII

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King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547.

King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547.

Portrait of Henry VIII after Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1537–1562
The meeting of Francis I and Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520
Henry with Emperor Charles V (right) and Pope Leo X (centre), c. 1520
Portrait of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second queen; a copy of a lost original painted around 1534.
Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1537
Portrait of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1539
Portrait of a woman believed to be Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1540
Catherine Parr, Henry's sixth and last wife
Henry in 1540, by Hans Holbein the Younger
Coffins of King Henry VIII (centre, damaged), Queen Jane (right), King Charles I with a child of Queen Anne (left), vault under the choir, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, marked by a stone slab in the floor. 1888 sketch by Alfred Young Nutt, Surveyor to the Dean and Canons
Musical score of "Pastime with Good Company", c. 1513, composed by Henry
Catherine of Aragon watching Henry jousting in her honour after giving birth to a son
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
Thomas Cromwell in 1532 or 1533
Gold crown of Henry VIII, minted c. 1544–1547. The reverse depicts the quartered arms of England and France.
King Henry VIII sitting with his feet upon Pope Clement VI, 1641
A 16th-century depiction of the Parliament of King Henry VIII
Henry's Italian-made suit of armour, c. 1544. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Depiction of Henry embarking at Dover, c. 1520
The division of Ireland in 1450

With the chance for an annulment lost, Cardinal Wolsey bore the blame.

"Just Divorced!" hand-written on an automobile's rear window.

Divorce

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Process of terminating a marriage or marital union.

Process of terminating a marriage or marital union.

"Just Divorced!" hand-written on an automobile's rear window.
Roman married couple.
Henry VIII of England broke with the Catholic Church in order to obtain an annulment.
Joséphine, first wife of Napoleon, obtained the civil dissolution of her marriage under the Napoleonic Code of 1804.
Marilyn Monroe signing divorce papers with celebrity attorney Jerry Giesler.

Divorce is different from annulment, which declares the marriage null and void, with legal separation or de jure separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married) or with de facto separation (a process where the spouses informally stop cohabiting).

Queen Catherine c. 1520

Catherine of Aragon

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Queen Catherine c. 1520
Queen Catherine c. 1520
Portrait by Juan de Flandes thought to be of 11-year-old Catherine. She resembles her sister Joanna of Castile.
Portrait of a noblewoman, possibly Mary Tudor c. 1514 or Catherine of Aragon c. 1502, by Michael Sittow. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
16th-century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor Rose and the Pomegranate of Granada
Henry VIII at the time of their marriage
Catherine watching Henry jousting in her honour after giving birth to a son. Henry's horse mantle is emblazoned with Catherine's initial letter, 'K.'
The Trial of Queen Catherine of Aragon, by Henry Nelson O'Neil (1846–1848, Birmingham Museums)
The Lady Mary, Catherine and Henry's daughter
Statue of Catherine at Alcalá de Henares
Grave of Catherine of Aragon in Peterborough Cathedral
Catherine of Aragon's arms while queen

Catherine of Aragon (Catalina; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII from their marriage on 11 June 1509 until their annulment on 23 May 1533.

Elkanah and his two wives

Bigamy

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Mandated, bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another.

Mandated, bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another.

Elkanah and his two wives
Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, was exposed as a bigamist in 1540 by his sister, Elisabeth

Republic of Ireland: A criminal offence under section 57 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, up to seven years' imprisonment. The Director of Public Prosecutions has discretion and rarely prosecutes. Catholic canon law permits a second marriage if the first was in a UK register office or annulled by the church; the state considered such marriages bigamous without a civil annulment (more restricted than a church annulment) or divorce (illegal from 1937 until 1996) and two cases in the 1960s led to suspended sentences. The 1861 act replaced an 1829 act which in turn replaced acts of 1725 and 1635.

Voidable marriage

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A voidable marriage (also called an avoidable marriage) is a marriage that can be canceled at the option of one of the parties through annulment.

Church of England

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Established Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion.

Established Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion.

Hereford Cathedral is one of the church's 43 cathedrals; many have histories stretching back centuries
Thomas Cranmer was the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury and principal compiler of the Book of Common Prayer
Major repairs were done to Canterbury Cathedral after the Restoration in 1660.
Captain John Smith's 1624 map of Bermuda, showing St Peter's at centre, left
One of the now "redundant" buildings, Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, in North Yorkshire; much of the current structure was built in the 14th and 15th centuries
Richard Hooker (1554–1600), one of the most influential figures in shaping Anglican theology and self-identity
Canterbury Cathedral houses the cathedra or episcopal chair of the Archbishop of Canterbury and is the cathedral of the Diocese of Canterbury and the mother church of the Church of England as well as a focus for the Anglican Communion
Stained glass window in Rochester Cathedral, Kent
Dioceses of the Church of England
The parish church of St Lawrence in Toot Baldon is typical of many small English village churches
Map showing the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe with the archdeaconries colour-coded
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The English church renounced papal authority in 1534 when Henry VIII failed to secure a papal annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Near contemporary portrait of Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle, c. 1550

Anne Boleyn

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Queen of England from 1533 to 1536, as the second wife of King Henry VIII.

Queen of England from 1533 to 1536, as the second wife of King Henry VIII.

Near contemporary portrait of Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle, c. 1550
Anne's sister Mary Boleyn
Claude of France, wife of Francis I. Anne served as her maid of honour for nearly seven years.
An early-20th-century painting of Anne Boleyn, depicting her deer hunting with the king
Catherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife and queen
Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger, around 1537
Anne Boleyn's coat of arms as Queen Consort
Bishop John Fisher, by Hans Holbein the Younger. Fisher refused to recognise Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn.
Greenwich Palace, also known as the Palace of Placentia, after a 17th-century drawing
Henry's reconciliation with Anne Boleyn, by George Cruikshank, 19th century
Jane Seymour became Henry's third wife shortly after Anne's execution.
Thomas Cromwell, Anne's one-time strong ally, with whom she clashed over foreign policy and the redistribution of church wealth. Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1532.
Anne Boleyn in the Tower by Édouard Cibot (1799–1877)
Thomas Cranmer, who was the sole supporter of Anne in the council
Grave marker
St Mary's Church, Erwarton, Suffolk, where Boleyn's heart was allegedly buried

Henry soon focused his desires on annulling his marriage to Catherine so he would be free to marry Anne.