What would happen in a mixed marriage

Annul marriage - How marriage annulment works

It is possible to have a marriage annulled if the Conditions for marriage have not been met:

Marriage only with simultaneous personal presence

If you want to get married, you must submit your will to marry before the registrar simultaneous presence in person to explain. This means that a representative and a messenger commissioned by you who act on your behalf and promise marriage are out of the question. True, the wedding would be not ineffective, but would allow the annulment of the marriage. You can have your marriage annulled. Regardless of this, the registrar would have to refuse the wedding if he knows that a representative or messenger wishes the wedding for you.

Again, despite these violations of the law, you cannot have your marriage annulled if you then five years live together as spouses without having the marriage annulled.

Expert tip:

You can only marry in front of a registrar. The declaration to other persons is only to be recognized as a marriage if a non-registrar publicly exercises the office of a registrar (e.g. the captain on the "dream ship") and the marriage is entered in the marriage register. If this person is not recognized as a registrar, it is not a matter of a marriage, so that you have such a "Non-marriage“Also not have to have a marriage annulled.

Prohibition of marriage among blood relatives

The law forbids straight-line marriage between relatives as well as between full-born (same parents) and half-born (only one common parent) siblings. The marriage prohibition is based on the incest taboo, which is also reflected in Section 173 of the Criminal Code (“sexual intercourse between relatives”).

Marriage bans exist: …

  • between blood relatives in a straight line (parent-child ratio; grandparent-grandchild)
  • between siblings, regardless of whether they have both parents or just one parent in common.
  • Between siblings whose relationship with their birth parents has expired through adoption.

Practical example:

The Fröhlich couple give up one of their two children, Jonas and Johanna, for adoption. The child Jonas is adopted. His relationship to his biological parents and his biological sibling Johanna expires through adoption. Since the consanguinity as such persists, the law forbids Jonas and Johanna from marrying each other.

If you ignore the prohibition on marriage, the marriage will still be effective. The marriage is only annulable and it is possible to have the marriage annulled. Any spouse and the administrative authority are entitled to apply. In this case, there is no application deadline.

No marriage ban thus exists between uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, cousin and cousin as well as between persons by marriage.

Prohibition of marriage for people who are related by adoption

If you have been adopted, you will be related to your new family. In this case, too, the law prohibits marriage. You can bypass the ban on marriage ...

  • by dissolving the adoption relationship,
  • or by applying to the family court to be exempt from the ban on marriage. The reason for this is that you are not related to your sibling in a direct line (blood related), but only in the sideline and in this respect there is only an artificially created relationship.

Prohibition of marriage of convenience

The fictitious marriage is based on the fact that when the marriage is concluded, it is agreed to dissolve the marriage again after a certain purpose has been achieved. But even a marriage that has only entered into a pretense is one effective marriage. There are good reasons for this. Because if the fictitious marriage were ineffective from the outset, it would be at the disposal of the spouses.

A marriage of convenience can also be canceled

A marriage of convenience can also be canceled

As an exception, you can annul the marriage of convenience as a marriage if you agreed at the time of the marriage that you did not want to establish a marital partnership. A registrar must ex officio refuse to marry if, due to imposing aspects, it must be obvious to him that you only want to enter into the marriage for a pretense. If the registrar has concrete clues, he is ex officio obliged to ask you about the more detailed circumstances. He can give up on you to provide suitable evidence that your wish to marry is serious (e.g. shared apartment) and ultimately a criminal affidavit that you seriously want to enter into the marriage. In case of doubt, he can let the competent local court decide whether he should conduct the wedding or not.

Expert tip:

Marriage of convenience is also an effective marriage. If you regret the wedding ceremony, you can also go down the arduous path of divorce. Alternatively, you can have the marriage annulled and proceed with the annulment. There is no application deadline for this. However, it is out of the question that you have your marriage annulled if, after the wedding, if only for a short time, lived together as spouses and a Cohabitation have formed.

You must expect that the consequences of annulment will be similar to those of a divorce. Should be out of a marriage of convenience common children have emerged, there are maintenance obligations as well as custody and access rights. A fictitious marriage is therefore associated with considerable risks, which you will most likely not be able to overlook and calculate when entering into the marriage.

Prohibition of double marriage (bigamy)

In our culture, double marriage is forbidden (§ 1306 BGB). Bigamy is a criminal offense for both partners. This also applies to registered life partners. Section 172 of the Criminal Code punishes with imprisonment for up to three years or with a fine. ...

  • the one who enters into marriageeven though he / she is already married,
  • but also the one who marries a married person.

This does not change anything if you live in a fictitious marriage and are serious about entering into another marriage. You can also have this marriage annulled. You are entitled to apply as a spouse and someone with whom you or your partner are already married or live in a registered civil partnership. The competent administrative authority (registry office), which is also entitled to apply, is even obliged to submit an application. There is no application deadline. You can no longer have the marriage annulled if the divorce of your previous marriage becomes final before the conclusion of your new marriage. In this case, the new marriage would also have to be divorced.

Expert tip:

If your spouse has been declared dead by mistake from a previous marriage, you can have your new marriage annulled if both partners in the new marriage knew at the time of the marriage that the spouse who was declared dead from your previous marriage was still alive at the time of the declaration of death . If you did not know this, the first marriage will be dissolved by law. It remains dissolved even if the declaration of death is subsequently revoked (Section 1319 BGB).

Incapacity of a spouse

Persistent mental disorder

Incapacitated persons cannot enter into marriage (§ 1304 BGB). You are incapable of doing business if you are in a "permanent state of pathological disruption of mental activity that excludes free will determination".

Practical example:

Mr. Fröhlich, suffering from an unknown mental illness, marries Mrs. Neumann. Marriage is effective. Ms. Neumann, Mr. Fröhlich's legal representative or the administrative authority can have the marriage annulled. Insofar as Mr Fröhlich is only legally incapacitated in relation to certain areas of life, but is aware of the fact of the marriage, the marriage ban as a result of incapacity does not apply.

Transient mental disorder

If you have performed the wedding in a "state of only temporary disturbance of your mental activity", that is Marriage effective, but you can have the marriage annulled. You are therefore not incapable of doing business. The prerequisite is that the temporary disruption has precluded your free will.

Practical example:

In the television film “Der Bulle und das Landei”, Killmer (Uwe Ochsenknecht) marries Kati Biewer in a state of complete drunkenness.


The law assumes as a rule that only adults marry (§ 1303 I BGB). In exceptional cases, the family court can grant an exception on application if the applicant has reached the age of 16 and at least his future spouse is of legal age. In this case, the law trusts that the adult partner is able to bear the marital responsibility for both of them. If, on the other hand, both those willing to marry are minors, a marriage is not an option.

In this case, however, the minor's legal representative (parents, guardians) can object to the application. Is done a Contradiction, the family court can only act if the objection is well founded. If the court does not recognize the grounds for the objection, the consent of the legal representative is irrelevant. If the legal representative does nothing and waives his objection, it is assumed that he agrees to the marriage.

Lack of will in deciding to get married


Didn't you know that what you were involved in was marriage because you thought it was? Engagement or a mere theatrical performance, come in mistake which entitles you to have the marriage annulled.

However, did you find out about the Identity of your partner wrong (example: you are marrying your identical twin brother instead of your fiancé and you do not notice the difference) or you are over essential personal characteristics of your partner (Examples: your partner is terminally ill, impotent or financially insolvent) if you make a mistake, your mistake is irrelevant. It is your job to avoid such errors.

Willful deception

You can annul the marriage and have the marriage annulled if you were induced to marry by fraudulent deception and were based on circumstances that would have prevented you from getting married if you had known. The fraudulent deception can in addition to an active act also in a breach of duty withholding important facts consist. Each partner is obliged to disclose to the other all the circumstances that are essential to the latter's decision to marry him. The prerequisite is that deception and error relate to circumstances that are "related to the meaning of the conjugal union".

Practical example:

Your partner does not tell you that he was already married, has a child with his first wife and has already been convicted of breaches of maintenance obligations (OLG Celle FamRZ 1965, 123). Or: Your partner does not tell you about his homosexual disposition or that he is a priest and canon law forbids him to marry.

Threat of a delicate evil

If you have been illegally forced to marry by your spouse, you have the option of having this marriage annulled

If you have been illegally forced to marry by your spouse, you have the option of having this marriage annulled

You can have your marriage annulled if it is wronged by your spouse threatened to marry have been. The threat can also be carried out by a third party (e.g. the bride's father).

Forced marriage usually takes place under pressure from the closest relatives. Even if this procedure is traditional and customary in some cultures, according to German legal understanding, the forced marriage offends against the dignity of the human being and his personal rights.

Consequences: If your marriage came about as a result of “lack of will”, you can have the marriage annulled within one year of discovering the mistake or deception or within three years of having freed yourself from your predicament. If you announce that you will continue the marriage anyway, you confirm the marriage process so that the annulment of the marriage is eliminated.

Practical example:

Annulment of the marriage is purely of a civil law nature. Regardless of this, Section 237 of the Criminal Code makes forced marriage a punishable offense. Anyone who “compels another to enter into marriage by force or by threatening a sensitive evil” is punished with imprisonment of at least six months up to five years. Even the attempt is punishable. A criminal complaint is a good basis for preparing and substantiating the civil annulment of the marriage. It is especially advisable if you want to take advantage of the caring help of the authorities in order to get out of your predicament.