Annulment of Marriages in Ontario
What is the jurisdiction for an annulment?
The Superior Court of Ontario has jurisdiction to annul marriages pursuant to s. 3 of the Annulment of Marriages Act (Ontario).
Specifically, the law of the place of the celebration of the marriage governs all the formalities surrounding the actual ceremony of marriage and the court of the parties’ domicile has jurisdiction over the legality of the marriage and may determine whether that marriage may be annulled.
What are the requirements for an annulment?
The parties must comply with the requirements of the place where the marriage is celebrated. There would have to be a legal defect in the marriage ceremony for an annulment to be granted.
No person is entitled to undergo a second form of marriage while the first marriage remains valid and subsisting.
i. Capacity to understand
A marriage will be void if one of the parties does not have the capacity to understand the basic nature of a marriage and its obligations.
In order to establish duress it is necessary to prove three factors: the person must be sufficiently afraid to remove the element of consent to the marriage, the fear must be reasonably entertained and the fear must arise from some external circumstance for which the applicant is not personally responsible.
iii. Mistake, fraud, and limited purpose
A marriage is void if one of the parties to the marriage is under a mistake as to the identity of the other party at the time of the ceremony.
A marriage involving an individual under the age of 7 is void. A marriage involving a male between the ages of 7 and 14 or a female between 7 and 12 years is voidable at the option of the underage person.
3. Consanguinity and Affinity
Marriages are banned between people too closely related by blood or marriage.
4. Inability to Consummate
A marriage is voidable if one of the parties was unable to consummate the marriage at the time of the ceremony.
If one or more of these requirements for an annulment are satisfied, the court may grant an annulment.