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Something that is void or has no legal force. A nullity may be treated as if it never occurred. Nullities are commonly found in the context of marriages. For example, in Marriage of Garcia, the court stated, “a judgment of nullity of marriage determines that, for reasons existing at the time of the alleged creation of the marriage, ‘no valid marriage ever existed.’” Such a judgement may occur due to noncompliance with the statutory formalization procedures of the marriage (e.g. the marriage was not properly licensed, solemnized, and authenticated) or because the marriage is found to be invalid for some other reason (e.g. incest or fraud). However, the term’s use is not limited to marriages. For example, in Illinois, the “nullity rule” voids judgements rendered in cases where a person who was not entitled to practice law represented one of the parties.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]