Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of annulment


  1. Make void
  2. To cancel an event or judicial proceeding both retroactively and for the future. Where, for example, a marriage is annulled, it is struck from all records and stands as having never transpired in law. This differs from a divorce which merely cancels a valid marriage only from the date of the divorce. A marriage annulled stands, in law, as if never performed.

Definition of annulment


    Recorded since the 15th century (sense destruction); from to annul (from Middle English annullen, from Middle French annuller, from Latin annullare, from ad 'to' nullus 'not any, nothing' + verbal ending -are)+ -ment 'means to' (from Latin -mentum)


  • IPA: /ə'nʌl.mənt/, SAMPA: /@"nVl.m@nt/


annulment (plural annulments)

  1. An act or instance of annulling.
  2. A state of having been annulled.
  3. An invalidation of something, especially a legal contract
  4. A legal (notably judicial) declaration that a marriage is invalid; the procedure leading to it.
  5. (archaic) Total destruction.


  • abolition
  • nullification (cognate)
  • cancellation

Further reading

Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is retroactive: an annulled marriage is considered never to have existed.

In strict legal terminology, (annulment) refers only to making a voidable marriage null; if the marriage is void ab initio, then it is automatically null, although a legal declaration of nullity is required to establish this. The process of obtaining such a declaration is similar to the annulment process. Generally speaking, annulment, despite its retrospective nature, still results in any children born being considered legitimate in the United States and many other countries.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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