A “void” marriage is probably the easiest kind to end, as states generally don’t require any court action for it to be terminated. A marriage is considered void if it ran counter to strong public policy issues, as in the case of incest or intentional bigamy. In those cases, the parties don’t need an annulment to say the marriage never took place—the marriage actually never did take place in the eyes of the law.
However, if the parties to a void marriage wish to formally annul, courts will often allow it. Those in a void marriage may wish to pursue annulment for its finality or to resolve typical divorce and separation issues such as division of property and child custody. Similarly, third parties may petition to have a marriage declared void, a situation that sometimes arises in will disputes.
A void marriage is different from a “voidable” marriage in that, even if the marriage’s “defect” is fixed or eliminated, the marriage can’t become valid.
Related: Annulment: Marriage is voidable
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