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Is coercion grounds for annulment?


A young woman was coerced into marriage before being allowed to return to the U.S. from a foreign country. Once back in the U.S., she never lived with her husband. Might this be grounds for an annulment?


Yes, it sounds as though this marriage is not valid due to the coercion you describe. The Code of Canon Law states, “No marriage can exist between a man and a woman who has been abducted or at least detained with a view of contracting marriage with her unless the woman chooses marriage of her own accord after she has been separated from the captor and established in a safe and free place” (CIC 1089). Also, “A marriage is invalid if entered into because of force or grave fear from without, even if unintentionally inflicted, so that a person is compelled to choose marriage in order to be free from it” (CIC 1103).

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