Is Marriage Contract Valid Without Full and Free Consent ?

In Di Lorenzo v. Di Lorenzo, 174 N.Y. 467, 67 N.E. 63, 34 Civ. Proc. R. 105 (1903), the defendant represented to the plaintiff that he was the father of her child, and the court, convinced that plaintiff would not have married defendant without the fraudulent representation, annulled the marriage. While any misrepresentation of a material fact incidental to the marriage contract is sufficient to void it, not all such allegations will sustain the burden. "It is for the court, in the exercise of sound discretion and with regard to public policy because of the peculiar nature of the contract, to determine whether or not the misrepresentations of fact and the probable consequences to be expected to be caused because of these misrepresentations are of sufficient importance to cause the court to exercise its power to dissolve the contract" Sobol v. Sobol, 88 Misc. 277 (Sup.Ct. NY, 1914) at 279, 150 N.Y.S. 248. In Sobol, the defendant did not disclose to the plaintiff that he was suffering from tuberculosis and the marriage contract was dissolved. In Kober v. Kober, 16 NY2d 191, 211 N.E.2d 817, 264 N.Y.S.2d 364, the Court of Appeals granted an annulment where the defendant failed to disclose that he had been an officer in the German army and an ardent Nazi, fanatically anti-Semitic. And in the case of Murray v. Murray, 271 AD2d 587, 706 N.Y.S.2d 164 (2000), the plaintiff sought an annulment on the grounds that the defendant misrepresented her prior marital status and her age. Supreme Court granted the annulment and the decision was affirmed holding that the fraudulent misrepresentations were material and that the plaintiff would not have consented to the marriage had they not been made.