Marriage annulment refers to a legal procedure that effectively dissolves a marriage in its entirety. Court granting the request for a marriage annulment effectively declares it null and void. Annulments are different from divorces wherein the marriage is terminated instead of being considered null and void.
Attorneys at SBEMP (Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney) law firm provides professional legal advice and services to clients in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Inland Empire, Orange County, Coachella Valley, Costa Mesa, San Diego, New Jersey, New York, and surrounding locations.
Obtaining an Annulment
An individual can request a family court judge to issue an annulment. This can also occur at the behest of a couple’s mutual decision. When one party seeks a marriage annulment, they are required to bring an annulment action in family court. The judge will need to hold a hearing if the other party refuses the annulment.
Common Grounds for Annulment
Marriages cannot be dissolved simply because either of the couple is dissatisfied. There are specific grounds listed under family law for an annulment to be granted. These are:
- Fraud or misrepresentation – when the marriage was obtained by tricking one of the partners under false pretenses. The burden to prove false representation falls on the party seeking the annulment.
- Incest – Parties should be related by blood that violates the state’s incest laws. This includes siblings, grandparent and grandchild, parent and child, and uncle/aunt and niece/nephew.
- Underage – This can be used when one of the parties was below the age of consent at the time of marriage.
- Mental impairment – Annulment can be granted if a party was severely mentally impaired and did not knowingly or voluntarily consent to enter matrimony.
- Force or coercion – A party can obtain an annulment if they were coerced into the marriage.
- Bigamy – This refers to a situation where a single individual is married to several different people. Generally, state laws ban bigamy.
Results of a Marriage Annulment
Annulled marriages are different from divorces because these marriages are considered to never have existed. Courts attempt to leave the couples in the same financial state as before the marriage. This rule is adopted while dividing assets and cash.
Couples that obtain shared assets, property or debt during the course of their marriage are usually instructed to share them equitably. Courts only consider facts surrounding a case while dividing assets and debt equitably.
Child Custody and Annulment
Generally, both parties to an annulled marriage are treated as legal parents of the child. This is similar to how child custody would be treated during a divorce. If there are child custody and support issues, the court shall apply divorce laws.
Time Limitations Regarding Marriage Annulment
There is no fixed time frame for obtaining a marriage annulment. However, practical consideration state that obtaining an annulment earlier rather than later is a prudent and wise decision. Individual circumstances regarding assets, liabilities, and child custody can become complicated the longer a couple waits to obtain an annulment.
Lawyers at the SBEMP law firm serve clients from Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Inland Empire, Orange County, Coachella Valley, Costa Mesa, San Diego, New Jersey, New York, and nearby locations for a range of legal practice areas.
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SBEMP LLP is a full service law firm with attorney offices in Palm Springs (Palm Desert, Inland Empire, Rancho Mirage), CA; Indian Wells, CA; Costa Mesa (Orange County), CA; San Diego, CA; New Jersey, NJ; and New York, NY.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by reading it. This blog post may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING in some states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained within this blog post. Before acting or relying upon any information within this newsletter, seek the advice of an attorney.