Annulment in Missouri is applicable to two distinct categories of challenged marriages: Those that are void and those that are voidable. The distinction is that a void marriage is always a nullity, whereas a voidable marriage is valid until a judgment is entered declaring it void. The Court's of Missouri have declared a strong public policy in favor of marriage, and a presumption in favor of marriage which is one of the strongest presumptions under the law. This means that in order to get an annulment, the moving party must show "strong, distinct, satisfactory, and conclusive" evidence to support the claim. In the overwhelming majority of cases, dissolution is the appropriate method to dissolve the marriage rather than annulment.
Grounds for Annulment include:
- Common law marriage
- a marriage where one party is under 15 years old (without judicial consent)
- Marriage between related persons (to the degree prohibited by statute)
- Marriage where one party lacked mental capacity, including feeble mindedness, insanity, intoxication, and unconsciousness
- A marriage where one party consented due to duress
- A marriage between two persons of the same sex
- A bigamous marriage
- Fraud, provided that it is essential to the marital relationship, such as sexual impotency or failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease. A misrepresentation in and of itself is not sufficient.
- Lack of assent