50 Ways to Leave your Lover?

Celebrity press has reported this week that Nicholas Cage’s marriage to Eika Koike came to a prompt end on 31st May when the judge in Clark County, Nevada, granted the divorce just over two months after they were married on 23rd March 2019.

The couple had been married only 4 days before Nicholas Cage applied for annulment, arguing that he “lacked understanding of his actions in marrying [Koike] to the extent that he was incapable of agreeing to the marriage”. It is being reported in the press that this was due to him being too drunk to give consent to the marriage at the time of the wedding. His application for annulment was not successful with the judge, instead, granting a divorce to his wife.

When a party to a marriage applies for an annulment, they are asking the court to grant an order that the marriage was void (the marriage is treated as never happened) or voidable (the marriage is treated as if it had existed up until the decree absolute).

In England and Wales, you cannot petition for a divorce until a period of at least 1 year has elapsed from the date of the marriage. However, there is no waiting period for applications for annulment and it is possible to file an application in this country any time after the wedding ceremony.

If you make an application for annulment of the marriage, it must be on one of the provided grounds, some of which are:-

  • The parties to the marriage are too closely related (i.e. siblings are unable to marry);
  • Either one of the parties to the marriage is under 16yrs, or, where they are 16 or 17yrs, consent was not given by the responsible parent/guardian;
  • One party to the marriage, is already married (the criminal offence of bigamy).
  • The marriage was not consummated owing to one party’s ‘wilful refusal’;
  • The marriage was carried out under duress; or
  • Absence of valid consent.

In law it is presumed that parties to a marriage have given valid consent, unless they can provide evidence to the contrary. If a party to the marriage can show that they were, during the wedding, too drunk to give valid consent then the court may grant an annulment (the marriage being voidable).

Applications for annulment are, by their nature, complex. If you have any questions about the process, or financial implications of annulment, please feel free to contact our team on 02920 345511.