Voidable marriage

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A voidable marriage (see: Marriage) is one that is not void from the outset (see: Void Marriage), as may be the case with a marriage conducted illegally, but may be declared void in course of time. The Matrimonial causes act (1973) states that a marriage is voidable if:

  • either partner does not, or can not, consumate the marriage, or
  • either partner did not consent to the marriage, or
  • either partner was not mentally competent to consent to the marriage, or
  • either partner was suffering from a sexually-transmitted disease, or
  • the woman was pregnant by another man.

A voidable marriage is assumed to be in effect until annulled by a court (see: Annullment). This means that children born in a voidable marriage are technically legitimate, as the marriage is considered never to have happened. Either partner can seek an annullment of a voidable marriage, but it lies within the court's discretion to refuse.

Family Law