What Is An Annulment

What Is An Annulment

An annulment is a legal process to dissolve a marriage that was deemed illegal. A judgment of nullity may be granted only when a marriage is adjudged void or voidable under conditions provided by statute.

In brief, a marriage is void in cases of incest and bigamy, and is voidable in cases of minority, a current spouse mistakenly believed to be deceased, unsound mind, fraud, force, and physical incapacity.

What is an annulment in the case of Incest?

A marriage entered into between any of the following persons is deemed incestuous and void from the beginning:

  • Parents and children;
  • Ancestors and descendants of every degree;
  • Siblings “of the half or whole blood”; and
  • Uncles or aunts and nieces or nephews

What is an annulment in the case of Minority?

A marriage is voidable if, at the time of the marriage, the petitioner was under age 18 and the requisite parental and court consents were not obtained, unless the petitioner entered into the marriage under special family code sections.

If the minor has no parent or has no parent capable of consenting, the court may order the issuance of a marriage license based on an application of a minor that “the minor requires a written consent to marry.” Under both sections, Family Court Services must interview the parties intending to marry and a parent or guardian if applicable, and file a report regarding any findings of potential force, threat, persuasion, fraud, coercion, or duress. The court must subsequently interview both parties on camera.

What is an annulment in the case of Bigamy?

A marriage is voidable if, at the time of the marriage, either party was married to another person and (1) for 5 successive years immediately preceding the marriage, the party’s spouse had been absent and not known to the party to be living or (2) at the time the marriage was entered into, the party’s spouse was generally reputed or believed by the party to be dead.

What is an annulment in the case of  Unsound Mind?

A marriage is voidable if, at the time of the marriage, either party was of unsound mind, unless that party, after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife.

Fraud

A marriage is voidable if either party’s consent was obtained by fraud, unless that party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife.

The false representations or concealment constituting the fraud must relate to a matter of substance and directly affect the purpose of the party deceived in entering the marriage.

If there are children involved, an annulment does not change the parental responsibilities of each parent. The annulment process is similar to a divorce, so parents will need to work out a custody arrangement and visitation schedule. Additionally, the noncustodial parent may need to pay child support to the custodial parent. The court must approve any custody agreement in order to void the marriage. Once approved, the final order will be issued according to the best interest of the child standard.

An annulment does not affect the parental responsibilities of the parents. Just like in a divorce, parents will have to determine the schedule and custody of the children. In some cases, the noncustodial parent will have to pay child support to the custodial parent. The court must approve any custody arrangement and award a final order that complies with the best interest of the child. If you are considering getting an annulment, these tips should help you decide what you should do in the future.

An annulment is not a divorce. However, it is a legal procedure that is similar to a divorce.

The most important points regarding annulments:

No Statutory Residency Requirement

For a judgment of nullity, unlike a judgment of dissolution, there is no statutory residency requirement.

No Requirement of Consent or Default

For a judgment of nullity, unlike a judgment of legal separation, there is no requirement that either the respondent consent or his or her default be entered.

Effect of Judgment on Parties’ Marital Status

A judgment of nullity restores the parties to the status of unmarried persons. Technically, this is true only of voidable marriages, because parties to void marriages were never validly married. Unlike a dissolution judgment, which may specify a future date on which the marital status ends), a judgment of nullity always results in the parties being free to remarry immediately. Whereas a dissolution judgment merely dissolves the existing marriage and leaves intact the marriage relationship between the date of marriage and the date of termination of the marital status, a judgment of nullity is said to “relate back” and erase the marriage and all its implications from the outset.

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