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Can a divorce be annulled for mental health reasons?

Cold feet before marriage are not uncommon, but when the reality sinks in after marriage there are those who may fear they have made a mistake or even exercised poor judgment due to mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or other matters leading to mental incapacity. If you feel you made the decision to marry for the wrong reasons, can your mental health be used as a reason to annul your marriage in New York courts?

It is possible, though it may be more difficult with mental illnesses that do not have drastic presentations. New York’s divorce resources website says that if one spouse becomes “incurably insane” for five or more years, though what constitutes “incurably insane” may require strict evaluation. Another portion states, however, that if one spouse is mentally incapacitated enough to fail to understand the nature, consequences or impact of marriage, you may be granted an annulment.

Depression and other mood disorders can affect your capacity to understand the consequences or depth of your actions, or cause you to make decisions against your own best interests without the capacity to reason through those decisions during a depressive episode or any other instance of mental illness. In that case you may be able to argue for an annulment based on mental illness, though you would have to provably demonstrate incapacity at the time of the marriage decision and execution.

This blog post should not be used as actionable legal advice. It is an informational and educational resource only.

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