Annulment or dissolution of a marriage

A marriage may be:

  • annulled, or;
  • dissolved.


You, or a third person, may apply for your marriage to be annulled within 3 years after it is solemnized, except in certain cases.

Rights and benefits preserved

If you marriage is annulled, your children’s rights are preserved and, if you and your spouse married in good faith, your own rights and benefits may also be preserved.

During proceedings for the annulment of marriage, provisional measures may be ordered concerning, for example:

Grounds for annulment

Various grounds can be raised to apply for the annulment of a marriage.

For example, a marriage may be annulled if:

  • one or both spouses did not give free and enlightened consent, for instance where the marriage:

    • was contracted by force;
    • was contracted by a person with a mental illness;

  • it was not contracted publicly;
  • it was contracted:

    • by two close relatives;
    • by two people aged under 18 who did not have court authorization;
    • before an unauthorized officiant;
    • by two people when one was already married or in a civil union (bigamy).


A marriage is dissolved:

  • when one of the spouses dies, or;
  • when the spouses divorce.

The family patrimony must be partitioned, and the matrimonial regime dissolved. The court may be asked to rule on:

  • the support payments to be paid to the children or to one spouse following the death or divorce;
  • child custody.

Legal separation

A legal separation, formally known as separation from bed and board, is not a dissolution, since it does not break the bond of marriage. 

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