– If one spouse was under the legal age to get married. The legal age for marriage is 18 in West Virginia, or 16 with consent from a parent or legal guardian. A person under 16 can only get married with consent from a parent or legal guardian, plus consent from a circuit court judge. If a spouse was married under the age of 18 but had the proper consent, the marriage won’t be annulled.
– If there is incest or a family relationship. The law prohibits marriage between certain family members. An individual cannot marry his/her parent, grandparent, sibling, child, grandchild, half-sibling, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, first cousin or double cousin. However, relationships by adoption don’t count.
– If there is bigamy. If one spouse was married to another person at the time of the marriage ceremony. If the previous marriage was not legally ended, then the “next marriage” is not valid and can be annulled.
– If there is incompetence. If one individual was determined by a court to be legally incapacitated, then the marriage can be annulled. This does not mean any person with a mental illness or a behavioral health condition, only people who have been determined by a court to be “legally incapacitated” or “in need of protection” are prohibited from marrying.
– If there is impotence; when a spouse is permanently unable to engage in sexual intercourse. The condition had to exist at the time of the marriage. The marriage will not be annulled if the spouses cohabit after the impotence is discovered.
– If there is fraud. If a spouse lied about or hid something essential to the marriage. The fraud must be about something so important that there wouldn’t have been a marriage if it were known ahead of time. Examples include: a wife hiding her pregnancy by another man; promiscuity; undisclosed venereal disease. However, if the spouses continued to cohabit after finding out about such fraud, the marriage won’t be annulled.
– If there is force or coercion; when a spouse was forced or threatened to get married. The force or coercion had to be present on the day of the marriage. If the spouses freely live together after the force or coercion is gone, the marriage will not be annulled.