Invalid marriage

Invalid marriage

Sometimes situations arise in connection with which a once registered marriage must be declared invalid. In this case, it is necessary to apply to the court with an appropriate statement of claim. A relationship can only be declared illegal if there are grounds.

Grounds for recognition of marriage are invalid

The Family Code of Ukraine specifies the grounds upon which a previously concluded marriage can be declared invalid. Such circumstances include:

  • lack of voluntariness of one of the parties (or each of them) when concluding a marriage:
  • threats, as well as physical or mental pressure on a man;
  • fraudulent actions of one or each of the parties;
  • inability to control one’s actions and realize their consequences (for example, during drug intoxication);
  • misleading the other party during marriage, as a result of which the man has misconceptions about the identity of the partner, etc.
  • minorities of partners;
  • concealment of serious illnesses of one or both parties during marriage;
  • concealment by one (or two men) of information that at the time of marriage registration his previous marital relations were not dissolved in the manner prescribed by law;
  • marriage between citizens who are closest relatives to each other, or an adoptive parent and an adopted child.

It should be borne in mind that close relatives, according to the provisions of family law, are parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, full and half brothers and sisters. Thus, a marriage between first or second cousins, uncle and niece, and so on cannot be declared illegal.

  • a marriage registered with an incapacitated person: in this case, the person should have been recognized as incompetent at the time of state registration of the relationship, but if the citizen was legally capable at the time of the conclusion of the union, but lost his legal capacity already in marriage, then the marriage would need to be dissolved and declared invalid at this time basis will be impossible;
  • concealment by a participant of a marital relationship of a serious illness (venereal disease or HIV infection);
  • the fictitiousness of marriage, that is, entering into it not for the purpose of creating a family.

This list of grounds is exhaustive: there are no other interpretations or additional conditions. That is why violation of the requirements of the procedure for concluding a marriage, for example, its registration before the expiration of a month from the date of filing the application, cannot become a basis for declaring the union invalid.

When deciding whether a marriage is fictitious, the specific circumstances of the case are taken into account:


Semenov I.A. and Petrova M.I. registered their marriage in the registry office. At the same time, the woman took the man’s last name and registered him in her own apartment. After a while, Semenov I.A. stopped keeping in touch with his wife, but at the same time repeatedly withdrew money from her bank card.

Subsequently, Semenova M.I. managed to find out that the man was deliberately hiding from her and living in a civil marriage with another woman in another locality.

Having understood the purpose of the marriage on the part of her husband, the woman filed a lawsuit demanding that the marriage be declared invalid. At the court hearing, Semenov pointed out the fact that her husband needed marriage to obtain registration, which made it possible for Semenov to get a well-paid job, as well as receive various types of benefits. Thus, Semenova’s husband misled her and fraudulently obtained registration in the plaintiff’s apartment.

The plaintiff also asked the court to compensate her for material and moral damage caused by Semenov. During the hearing, after hearing the opinions of the plaintiff, as well as witnesses who confirmed the woman’s words, the court satisfied Semenova’s demands in full.

How to invalidate a marriage: judicial practice

An analysis of judicial practice allows us to conclude that those marriages are also recognized as invalid when, due to a serious illness, the citizen was unable to adequately perceive reality and be aware of his actions, and after recovery he practically did not continue the relationship with his spouse. When considering such cases, the judge has the right to order an examination to determine the individual’s ability to make a decision, with the help of which a correct conclusion can be made about the citizen’s ability to understand the actions he has committed, including marriage.

As for the annulment of marriage before the age of marriage (i.e. up to 18 years). Accordingly, a marriage may be declared invalid if the registry office employees registered the couple’s relationship, despite the fact that there was no court consent. That is, there was no corresponding court decision granting the right to marriage.
However, the court may, in some cases, refuse to recognize a marriage as invalid if this would limit the rights of a man who has reached the age of majority. Such examples include the birth of a child in the family, as well as the reluctance of the couple to break off the relationship.

An indisputable basis for declaring a marriage illegal is a violation of the requirement that one or both spouses have no unbroken marriage, since this violates the principle of monogamy, according to which a citizen cannot simultaneously be in two or more marriages. Such cases are among the most common in cases of invalidation of marriages.

A fictitious marriage is when family relationships were concluded between each other, but the spouses had practically no such relationships. In most cases, such marriages are registered for the acquisition of certain preferences or rights to property: obtaining Ukrainian citizenship, the right to claim his property after his death and other similar reasons.

The procedure for recognizing a marriage by the court is invalid

A marriage is recognized as valid until the contrary is proven. A marriage can only be declared invalid by a court of law. To do this, you will need to file a corresponding statement of claim in court. But before that, there are a number of important points to consider.

If the marriage has already been officially dissolved, it cannot be declared invalid. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  1. The marriage was concluded between close relatives.
  2. One of the spouses was married when the next one was registered.

In these cases, a marriage can be declared illegal even after its dissolution.

As for the recognition of a fictitious marriage as illegal, attention should be paid to whether the fictitious intentions of the spouses (or one of them) have disappeared. Sometimes it happens that at first a fictitious marriage is created, but after some time the spouses begin to live a full family life. In this regard, the circumstances that prevented marriage are eliminated, and such family relationships can no longer be recognized as fictitious and invalid.

Consideration of a case on declaring a marriage invalid occurs after the interested party files a statement of claim in court. The list of applicants who have the right to file a claim to have a marriage declared invalid is small. If the case under consideration is related to the fact that the spouse is a minor, then the claim is filed:

  • a married minor citizen;
  • father or mother of a minor (or other legal representative);
  • social service agency.

If the principle of joint consent is not observed when entering into a marriage or there are signs of a fictitious marriage, a claim can be filed either by the prosecutor’s office or by one of the parties to the marriage relationship who has suffered from the actions of the other party.

In the situations described above, that is, when one of the spouses is in another marriage, is incapacitated or is in a formal marital relationship with his closest relative, etc., an application for declaring the marriage invalid can be filed:

  • injured man;
  • guardian of a married person (if he is declared legally incompetent);
  • spouse from first marriage;
  • another interested party (for example, the recipient of an inheritance, a credit institution);
  • guardianship and trusteeship authorities;
  • by the prosecutor’s office.

You cannot simultaneously file a claim for divorce and invalidation, since these are two completely different procedures, each of which has its own legal consequences.

The statute of limitations for recognizing a marriage is invalid

Most aspects of family law are not subject to the statute of limitations.

If a marriage is declared invalid, the statute of limitations is limited only when the married citizen hid the presence of a sexually transmitted disease or HIV infection from his spouse. In this case, a man who did not know about his partner’s illness has the right to file an application for recognition of the marital relationship as invalid within months from the time he learned about the presence of the disease, according to the Investigative Committee of Ukraine.

Statement of claim for recognition of marriage as invalid

The application for annulment of marriage must include the following information:

  • the name of the court in which the case will be heard;
  • Full name and the plaintiff’s place of residence;
  • Full name and the defendant’s residential address (if any);
  • name of the body that registered the marriage and date of registration of the marriage;
  • circumstances that are grounds for declaring a marriage invalid;
  • the very requirement to recognize the marriage as invalid;
  • request to cancel the marriage registration record.

The following documents are attached to the statement of claim:

  • The plaintiff’s passport and taxpayer code;
  • The defendant’s passport and taxpayer code (if available);
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Receipt for payment of the court fee;
  • Other documentary information allowing to establish all the circumstances within the framework of this case.

Circumstances eliminating the invalidity of a marriage

A marriage can be declared invalid only as a result of a court decision. By the time the judge makes a decision on the case, the participants are called spouses and, based on this, have corresponding rights and obligations.

The court makes a decision after a detailed consideration of all the facts available in the case, including taking into account:

  • duration of marital relationship;
  • number of children born in marriage;
  • circumstances that led to the impossibility of further marriage and others.

The court may reject the claim and recognize the marriage as legal if the reasons for maintaining the relationship have been eliminated.

Such cases include:

  • completion of the wife’s eighteenth birthday;
  • obtaining consent to continue to remain married (after preliminary disagreement leading to a lawsuit);
  • divorce from the first male party in two marriages at the same time;
  • abolition of adoption (one person to another);
  • recognition of a married person as legally capable;
  • development of full-fledged family relationships after entering into a fictitious marriage, etc.


Kozlova V.N. and Mironov N.M. registered their marriage and began living together. After a year of married life, it turned out that Petrov had another wife, with whom he had no divorce proceedings. In turn, Petrov managed to hide the existence of an unbroken marriage from his new wife and the registry office. The prosecutor’s office, as a result of an appeal from the registry office employees, demanded in court to annul the current marriage.

Petrov asked the court to reject the claim due to the fact that he and his wife from his first marriage divorced during the consideration of the case by court decision. The judge, taking into account the fact that the obstacles in the form of an undissolved marriage had been eliminated, did not satisfy the claim and recognized the relationship between N.M. Mironov and V.N. Kozlova as legal.

From what moment is a marriage declared invalid?

In case of a positive decision of the court, the marriage is considered invalid from its conclusion. Based on this, the obligations of both parties towards each other are also subject to cancellation from the date of marriage registration.

The moment of recognition of marriage is not the key moment when solving problems related to the property rights of persons in marriage legal relations, as well as for other interested citizens (for example, when distributing inheritance). Due to the fact that a marriage is recognized as invalid from the moment of its registration, property acquired within the framework of such relations will be distributed in accordance with the norms of the Civil Code of Ukraine.

Consequences of declaring a marriage invalid

If the court recognizes the invalidity of a marriage, the legal relations of the parties are annulled at the time when the marriage has not yet been registered. Consequently, all property acquired by married spouses is recognized not as jointly acquired property, but as common property.

If they wish, they can divide the common property into shares (by agreement or through the court). The rules for ownership and use of common property, as well as its division, are described in the Civil Code of Ukraine.

If the relationship is declared illegal, the marriage contract is also annulled.

Also subject to cancellation:

  • the right to use the property of the ex-husband;
  • right of inheritance;
  • the right to receive material support (alimony) from a man;
  • the right to pension payments that can be relied upon after the death of a man, etc.

The only exception to this rule is the rights of a conscientious man, that is, that party to the relationship who was not aware of the selfish purposes of the marriage, who was deceived and did not know about all the circumstances. The deceived man retains the following rights:

  • Right to alimony from ex-husband.
  • The right to division of property according to family law.
  • The right to preserve the terms of the marriage contract (in whole or in part, depending on the circumstances).
  • The right to keep a man’s surname.
  • The right to demand compensation from a man for material and moral damage – if there is appropriate evidence.
  • Rights of children born in an invalid marriage

Recognition of a marriage as invalid does not affect the rights of children born in such a marriage or born into the world.

The obligations of each parent to their children in this case remain unchanged, since their source is the very fact of birth, and not the registration of marriage. Spouses of parents must be involved in the upbringing and financial support of their own children, and the judge, in turn, may oblige one of the former spouses to pay alimony in favor of a minor or adult disabled child.

Question about invalid marriage and lawyer's answers
Good afternoon Can I marry a girl who is under 18 years old?
Good afternoon To which court can I file a claim to declare a marriage invalid if I am registered and work in Kyiv, and the man’s place of residence is Zaporozhye?

Invalid marriage: results

In judicial practice, there are often cases when cases of declaring marriage invalid are considered. The Family Code of Ukraine provides for circumstances under which a marriage may be declared invalid. Such situations include cases where the marriage is recognized as fictitious, concluded through deception, threats, between close relatives, etc.

To declare a marriage invalid, at least one circumstance provided for by the Law of Ukraine is sufficient. The case is considered after filing a claim in court. The court makes a decision after a detailed consideration of all the facts in the case.

The statement of claim must be accompanied by a marriage certificate, a document confirming payment of the state duty, and a number of other documentary information referring to the decision.

Property acquired during an invalid marriage is distributed between the parties in accordance with the norms of the Civil Code of Ukraine.

The obligations of each parent to their children after the marriage is declared invalid remain unchanged.

Services of a family lawyer

A family lawyer will provide you with legal advice and help you draw up all the necessary documents to declare your marriage invalid.

We are responsible for the quality of legal services and guarantee a positive result.

With the help of a family lawyer or a lawyer, your case of invalidating your marriage will be resolved more professionally and quickly.

By contacting us, you are guaranteed to receive professional legal assistance in the case of declaring a marriage invalid.

Alexey Scriabin
Alexey Scriabin
Family lawyer
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