TN 29 (05-01)

GN 00305.130 Voidable Marriages

A. Definition — voidable marriages

A voidable marriage is a marriage which is defective and can be adjudged void (annulled), but which is considered valid unless and until declared void as a result of a court action on its validity. In the absence of evidence that a voidable marriage has been annulled, no development of the validity of the marriage is required.

B. Policy — voidable marriages

1. Entitlement to benefits

a. Annulment

Where a voidable marriage has been annulled, initial entitlement to benefits is not precluded and benefits previously terminated because of such a marriage may be resumed upon the taking of a new application except as provided in GN 00305.130B.2. In both situations, benefits are payable no earlier than the month the annulment decree is issued subject to the usual provisions of retroactivity.

b. Nunc pro tunc annulment

In an exceptional case, a court may enter a decree nunc pro tunc (now for then), with an effective date sometime in the past. This action is not a retroactive decree as such. Rather, it is properly an entry made now of something actually previously done by the court to have effect from the previous date. It supplies not an omitted act, but an omission in the record of an act which was taken but was not included in the record through inadvertence or mistake. If a voidable marriage is properly annulled by a decree nunc pro tunc, consider the effective date, rather than the date the decree was entered, in determining when benefits become payable.

2. Effect of alimony on annulments

a. General policy

Initial entitlement to benefits as a parent and reentitlement to benefits as a parent or child is precluded if an annulment is granted in a State where the courts have the power to grant permanent alimony, and the court either

  • granted permanent alimony, or

  • retained power to grant alimony later.

(For an exception for States in the Fifth and Eleventh Judicial Circuits, see GN 00305.130B.3.)

b. States that can grant alimony

Courts in the following States have the power to grant permanent alimony in any annulment action:

  • Alaska

  • Connecticut

  • New Hampshire

  • New Mexico (underage marriages only)

  • New York

  • Oregon

  • Virginia

  • Washington

If. . .

Then . . .

the court in one of the above States grants permanent alimony in the annulment action

Initial entitlement or reentitlement is not permitted.

permanent alimony is not granted in New York

The court retains jurisdiction to order it later; therefore; initial entitlement or reentitlement is not permitted.

the annulment decree is silent regarding alimony in Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington

The court has no power later to make an award of alimony and, thus, initial entitlement reentitlement is permitted effective with the month the annulment decree is effective.

3. States in the fifth and eleventh judicial circuits

  1. These States are:

    • Alabama

    • Florida

    • Georgia

    • Louisiana

    • Mississippi

    • Texas

  2. Follow the procedures in GN 01010.800 for possible submittal to the RCC when:

    • the intervening marriage is dissolved by divorce in Florida or Mississippi for causes existing at the time of the marriage; or

    • the marriage is annulled in a State wherein the court has power to grant permanent alimony but the claimant is a resident of one of the above-mentioned States.

C. Procedure — voidable marriages

1. General procedure

Develop void and voidable marriages in annulment actions per GN 00305.135.