A void marriage is a marriage that is unlawful or invalid under the laws of the jurisdiction where it is entered. A void marriage is "one that is void and invalid from its beginning. It is as though the marriage never existed and it requires no formality to terminate." A marriage that is entered into in good faith, but that is later found to be void, may be recognized as a putative marriage and the spouses as putative spouses, with certain rights granted by statute or common law, notwithstanding that the marriage itself is void.
Void marriages are distinct from those marriages that can be canceled at the option of one of the parties, but otherwise remain valid. Such a marriage is voidable, meaning that it is subject to cancellation through annulment if contested in court.