Annulment of Void or Invalid Marriages in Maryland
Maryland family law provides a legal basis for most married couples to seek a divorce — in both no-fault and at-fault situations. On the other hand, annulment is only available to people who entered into a void or invalid marriage. Stated otherwise, Maryland family law restricts annulment to marriages that were unlawful, performed incorrectly, or lacked specific requirements. Moreover, there are often criminal penalties for individuals that engage in invalid or void marriages.
Valid Marriages Under Maryland Family Law
There are several requirements for a valid marriage in Maryland. Before getting married, the prospective spouses must obtain a marriage license, as detailed in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 2-401. Under this section, the marriage license must come from the county clerk where the ceremony will occur.
Any person who gets married without a valid license will face misdemeanor charges under Section 2-401. If convicted, the punishment includes a $100 fine.
Furthermore, Maryland Code of Family Law Section 2-406 requires the marriage ceremony to occur within six months of receiving the marriage license. Section 2-406 also lists the officials authorized to perform a marriage ceremony, including:
- Religious officials who can perform marriages under the rules of their faith;
- County clerks;
- Deputy county clerks designated by state judges; and
- State judges.
Any unauthorized person who performs a marriage ceremony will face misdemeanor charges under Section 2-406. If convicted, the punishment includes a $500 fine.
Void Marriages Under Maryland Family Law
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 2-202 prohibits certain types of marriages. On an overarching level, Maryland does not allow marriages within three degrees of direct lineal consanguinity or within one degree of collateral consanguinity.
More specifically, Maryland family law prohibits a person from marrying their:
- Child; or
Any person who violates this rule will face misdemeanor charges under Section 2-202. If convicted, the punishment includes a $1,500 fine.
In addition, Maryland family law prohibits a person from marrying their:
- Child’s spouse;
- Grandchild’s spouse;
- Grandparent’s spouse;
- Parent’s sibling;
- Sibling’s child;
- Spouse’s parent, grandparent, child, or grandchild; or
Any person who violates this rule will face misdemeanor charges under Section 2-202. If convicted, the punishment includes a $500 fine.
Special Considerations for Minor Children
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 2-301 establishes special considerations for the marriage of minor children. Under this section, children under the age of 15 are not allowed to get married.
Section 2-301 does permit children aged 15 to 17 years old to get married under certain circumstances. A parent or guardian can consent to the marriage of a child aged 16 or 17 years old. And if a child aged 15 to 17 years old is pregnant, it is possible to have a valid marriage.
Any person who violates this rule will face misdemeanor charges under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 2-302. If convicted, the punishment includes a $250 fine.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about marriage or other aspects of Maryland family law, it can be exceedingly helpful to speak with a knowledgeable Bel Air divorce attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.