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Domestic Relations Law 140
DRL 140: Action for judgment declaring nullity of void marriages or annulling voidable marriage.



DRL 140

Action for judgment declaring nullity of void marriages or annulling voidable marriage.


(a) Former husband or wife living.


An action to declare the nullity of a void marriage upon the ground that the former husband or wife of one of the parties was living, the former marriage being in force, may be maintained by either of the parties during the lifetime of the other, or by the former husband or wife.


(b) Party under age of consent.


An action to annul a marriage on the ground that one or both of the parties had not attained the age of legal consent may be maintained by the infant, or by either parent of the infant, or by the guardian of the infant's person; or the court may allow the action to be maintained by any person as the next friend of the infant. But a marriage shall not be annulled under this subdivision at the suit of a party who was of the age of legal consent when it was contracted, or by a party who for any time after he or she attained that age freely cohabited with the other party as husband or wife.


(c) Party a mentally retarded person or mentally ill person.


An action to annul a marriage on the ground that one of the parties thereto was a mentally retarded person may be maintained at any time during the lifetime of either party by any relative of a mentally retarded person, who has an interest to avoid the marriage. An action to annul a marriage on the ground that one of the parties thereto was a mentally ill person may be maintained at any time during the continuance of the mental illness, or, after the death of the mentally ill person in that condition, and during the life of the other party to the marriage, by any relative of the mentally ill person who has an interest to avoid the marriage. Such an action may also be maintained by the mentally ill person at any time after restoration to a sound mind; but in that case, the marriage should not be annulled if it appears that the parties freely cohabited as husband and wife after the mentally ill person was restored to a sound mind. Where one of the parties to a marriage was a mentally ill person at the time of the marriage, an action may also be maintained by the other party at any time during the continuance of the mental illness, provided the plaintiff did not know of the mental illness at the time of the marriage. Where no relative of the mentally retarded person or mentally ill person brings an action to annul the marriage and the mentally ill person is not restored to sound mind, the court may allow an action for that purpose to be maintained at any time during the lifetime of both the parties to the marriage, by any person as the next friend of the mentally retarded person or mentally ill person.


(d) Physical incapacity.


An action to annul a marriage on the ground that one of the parties was physically incapable of entering into the marriage state may be maintained by the injured party against the party whose incapacity is alleged; or such an action may be maintained by the party who was incapable against the other party, provided the incapable party was unaware of the incapacity at the time of marriage, or if aware of such incapacity, did not know it was incurable. Such an action can be maintained only where an incapacity continues and is incurable, and must be commenced before five years have expired since the marriage.


(e) Consent by force, duress or fraud.


An action to annul a marriage on the ground that the consent of one of the parties thereto was obtained by force or duress may be maintained at any time by the party whose consent was so obtained. An action to annul a marriage on the ground that the consent of one of the parties thereto was obtained by fraud may be maintained by the party whose consent was so obtained within the limitations of time for enforcing a civil remedy of the civil practice law and rules. Any such action may also be maintained during the lifetime of the other party by the parent, or the guardian of the person of the party whose consent was so obtained, or by any relative of that party who has an interest to avoid the marriage, provided that in an action to annul a marriage on the ground of fraud the limitation prescribed in the civil practice law and rules has not run. But a marriage shall not be annulled on the ground of force or duress if it appears that, at any time before the commencement of the action, the parties thereto voluntarily cohabited as husband and wife; or on the ground of fraud, if it appears that, at any time before the commencement thereof, the parties voluntarily cohabited as husband and wife, with a full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud.


(f) Incurable mental illness for five years.


An action to annul a marriage upon the ground that one of the parties has been incurably mentally ill for a period of five years or more may be maintained by or on behalf of either of the parties to such marriage.




This section of the Domestic Relations Law is provided as part of a free educational service by J. Douglas Barics, attorney at law for reference only. Statutes and codes such as DRL 140 are frequently amended, and no representation is made that the above version of DRL 140 is current. Updated statutes and codes may be available at the New York State Legislature Website. No statute should be relied on without understanding controlling case law which may further interpret it. An attorney should be consulted for legal advice.


If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Mr. Barics at lawyer@jdbar.com or (631) 864-2600. For more articles and information, please visit www.jdbar.com.


J. Douglas Barics, Esq. – Divorce, family, matrimonial, trial and appeals lawyer in Long Island, New York



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