How to Obtain an Annulment in Tennessee | What to Know

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To learn more about an annulment in Tennessee, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm today to speak with a dedicated Shelby County, Tennessee divorce lawyer.

How does the state of Tennessee define an annulment?

Recognize that an annulment is not the same thing as a divorce. This is because, in Tennessee, a divorce terminates a valid marriage, while an annulment indicates there was never a valid marriage. If there is a legal basis that your marriage was invalid from the start, you may be qualified to have your marriage annulled in Tennessee. Reach out to our firm to learn more.

What are the grounds for an annulment in Tennessee?

There are several legal grounds for annulment in Tennessee, including the following:

  • Insanity: a spouse was insane or unable to understand the nature of marriage when the spouse married
  • Underage: one or both spouses was too young to be married
  • Incest: the spouses are related (closer than first cousins)
  • Bigamy: a spouse has a living husband or wife at the time of marriage
  • Duress: a spouse only married because they were coerced
  • Fraud: one spouse defrauded the other into getting married
  • Denial of marital rights: one spouse refuses to live with the other or have sexual relations during the marriage

How does the annulment process work?

If you believe your marriage qualifies for an annulment, you will need to file a “Complaint for Annulment” in the circuit court of the county where either you or your spouse presently lives. Either you or your spouse must have lived in Tennessee for six months to file for annulment in the state. The spouse filing for annulment should be documented as the “plaintiff” in the complaint, and the other spouse documented as the “defendant.” You may want to inquire about obtaining a sample complaint about an annulment you can use from the county clerk’s office.

Keep in mind that the complaint about annulment will need to have numerous pieces of information. You should record the full name, address, and date of birth of each spouse. You will also need to list the names and dates of birth of any children born during the marriage. The complaint should state which party has lived in Tennessee for at least six months. If you want the court to determine child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, or property division, you will need to express that in the complaint.

Once you have filled out your complaint about annulment, you should file the complaint in the circuit court clerk’s office. Be sure to obtain an extra copy of your filed complaint to serve on your spouse. The clerk’s office can describe your options for serving your spouse, including options if your spouse lives out of state or you can’t find your spouse.

The court will plan a hearing where you will have to verify your legal grounds to have your marriage annulled. You should obtain any evidence and witnesses to the hearing that support your grounds for annulment. If the judge thinks you have proven your case, the judge will sign an order awarding the annulment.


If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in Memphis or anywhere in Tennessee, contact Rice Law to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.