Far more often than anyone would expect, clients come in wanting an annulment. Unfortunately, most of the time, they really don’t meet Florida’s fairly narrow criteria to qualify for an annulment.
One criterion that most people do generally quite correctly associate with annulment is a union of very short duration. But there’s a new case out of India that flies in the face of that particular criterion – among others.
Indian Husband and Wife have been married for seventeen years.
But Husband and Wife have never actually lived together at all during their seventeen year marriage.
In fact, Wife didn’t even know they were married until very recently!
How can that be? Well …
It seems that Wife was only one year old when she was married to Husband. One. Yes, really.
And Husband probably has to be forgiven for robbing the cradle here. Because Husband was but three years old. Again, really.
Although illegal since 1929, parentally arranged marriages of children remain common in rural India.
Indeed, nearly half of Indian females are reportedly married by age seventeen. And forty percent of child marriages globally reportedly occur in India.
Upon being told that she was married and that it was time for her to go to live with Husband, Wife rejected their parents’ arrangement.
Astonishingly, this was reportedly a first.
Husband, by contrast, was prepared to honor their families’ arrangement, but came to respect Wife’s exercise of her free will.
Wife promptly consulted a social worker and child rights activist for assistance in annulling her marriage.
With the social worker’s assistance, the couple were able to secure an amicable, but nonetheless formal legal annulment of their marriage. The legal ground being that the marriage was null and void under the Indian law prohibiting child marriages.
Some Indians hope that the precedent established by Husband and Wife will encourage other young people in India to assert their own free wills and legal rights.