If your marriage is considered invalid by law, you can apply for a ‘decree of nullity’—also known as an annulment.
What is an annulment?
A marriage is declared to be annulled when the law does not recognise it as legally valid.
This is different to religious procedures for annulment. Contact your church or religious institution for more information about church granted annulments.
Is my marriage valid?
A marriage is not considered legally valid if:
- either person was married at the time of the marriage (bigamy).
- the relationship between the people prohibits marriage (eg brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild, including half relations but not step relations).
- either person is not old enough to marry (18 years unless you have a Court Order).
- the ceremony was not valid (eg unqualified celebrant or incorrect paperwork).
- either person did not give their real consent—for example:
- they were not mentally capable of giving consent.
- they were mistaken (eg as to the identity of the other person or the ceremony’s nature).
- there was duress or fraud—such as misrepresenting who you are or using threats or force to get consent.
Applying for an annulment
To apply for an annulment, you will need to make an application to the Family Court of Australia explaining why the marriage is not legally valid. If approved, the Court will issue a decree of nullity.
Fees and costs
There will be a Court filing fee, but you may apply to the Family Court of Australia to have this reduced in certain situations. Contact the Family Court of Australia for more information about fees. You should discuss any legal costs with a lawyer. Applying for a decree of nullity can be complicated and expensive and you should get legal advice.
Disclaimer: The material presented on this website is an information source only. The information on this website is written for people resident in, or affected by the laws of Queensland, Australia only. Links to other sites from this website are provided for the users’ convenience. The LGBTI Legal Service does not endorse these sites and is not responsible for the information on these sites or the use made of this information. If you have a specific legal problem, you should consult a professional legal advisor.