Voidable Marriage

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A void marriage:

1. Does not fulfil certain critical requirements for valid marriages. For instance, the marriage is void if the solemnization was not authorized by a valid marriage licence or the solemnization was not carried out by a licensed marriage solemnizer; and/ or

2. Is one in which at least one of the parties does not have the capacity to get married. For instance, the marriage is void if it is between 2 people of the same sex or one of the parties is already married.

See: Section 105 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)

On the other hand, in a voidable marriage, all formalities of a valid marriage are fulfilled and parties have the capacity to marry. Nonetheless, a voidable marriage may still be nullified by the Court if:

1. One of the following 6 grounds can be proven; and

2. Parties choose to act on one of these 6 grounds to obtain a judgment of nullity. If parties wish to remain married, they are able to.

See: Section 106 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)

Should a judgment of nullity be awarded, the marriage will be deemed null and void from the start and parties are returned to their “Single” status.

Grounds on which marriage is voidable

GroundDefinition
1. The marriage is not consummated due to the incapacity of either party.
The marriage is deemed not consummated when parties have not engaged in at least one complete act of sexual intercourse after the solemnization of the marriage.

‘Incapacity’ to consummate the marriage refers to physical and psychological incapacity which is permanent and incurable.

Either party can rely on this ground to file for annulment. There is no time limit.

There is no time limit.
2. The marriage is not consummated due to the wilful refusal of one party.
Persistent requests for sexual intercourse were made by one party, but the requests were rebuffed by the other party.

Only the party who tried to consummate but was persistently rebuffed can rely on this ground. There is no time limit.
3. Either party to the marriage did not validly consent to it.Parties may have given apparent consent by participating in the solemnization of marriage, but this consent may still be invalid if it was given under any duress, mistake or mental disorder.

Either party can rely on this ground to file for annulment within 3 years from the date of marriage.
4. At the time of the marriage either party though capable of giving a valid consent, was suffering from a mental disorder to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage.Under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2008, “mental disorder” means any mental illness or any other disorder or disability of the mind, and “mentally disordered” shall be construed accordingly.

Either party can rely on this ground to file for annulment within 3 years from the date of marriage.
5. One party was suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form at the time of the marriage and the other party did not know. To understand what constitutes “venereal disease in a communicable form”, it is helpful to refer to the Infectious Diseases Act, which lists the following as sexually transmitted diseases:

1. Chlamydia Genital Infection.
2. Genital Herpes.
3. Gonorrhoea.
4. Non-Gonococcal Urethritis.
5. Syphilis.

Only the party who is not suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form at the time of the marriage can rely on this ground within 3 years from the date of marriage.
6. The wife was pregnant by some other person other than the husband at the time of the marriage and the husband did not know. Only the husband can rely on this ground within 3 years from the date of marriage.

Your annulment lawyer can assist by:

1. Advising you on whether your marriage is voidable and your eligibility to file for annulment in Singapore.

2. Representing you if you decide to file for annulment on the basis that your marriage is voidable, or defending you if your spouse files for annulment.

3. Ensuring that your interests and concerns are addressed.

4. Drafting and filing the documents required by the Court.

5. Representing you in negotiations with the other party, mediation sessions and in Court.

You may also be interested to read more about:

1. Divorce and Separation

2. Annulment (Nullity) of Marriage

3. Children’s Issues

4. Matrimonial Assets

5. Maintenance Issues (Alimony)

6. Family Violence