To annul a marriage means that the marriage has never been legal and has never existed in the eyes of the law. Annulments are very rare. To annul a marriage, you must meet one of the following conditions:
- Incest: The spouses are close blood relatives (first cousins may marry in California).
- Bigamy: One or both of the spouses were knowingly married or in a registered domestic partnership with another person at the time of the marriage.
- Underage: A spouse was under eighteen years of age at the time of marriage and did not obtain parental consent or a court order permitting the marriage.
- Prior Existing Marriage: A spouse erroneously remarried under the mistaken belief that his or her prior marriage was ended due to the death of the prior spouse, who is in fact still alive.
- Unsound Mind: Either party could not and has not formed the intent to marry due to a mental condition resulting in the failure to understand the nature of the marriage and the obligations that come with it.
- Fraud: A spouse deceived the other spouse regarding a significant matter that led to the marriage. Only the deceived spouse may file under this category. Some examples are marrying for a green card, or hiding the inability to have children.
- Force: Threats or acts of harm were used to force one spouse into entering the marriage.
- Incapacity: A spouse or partner was and continues to be physically unable to consummate the marriage.
To get an annulment, you must be able to prove to the judge that one of these above reasons are true for you. These are short, simple statements of the reasons an annulment is permitted. Each reason has further details that must be proven to the court. Proving that there is a legally valid reason to be granted an annulment can be very challenging. Talking to an attorney to help you understand what you need to show a judge will help clarify your expectations.
Most annulments take place after a short amount of time, but some do not take place until years later. There may be a limited window during which you may file for an annulment. This period of time may vary depending on the reason an annulment is being requested.
If an annulment is granted, it means that the marriage was never valid, so you may not have the same rights and obligations that couples who file for divorce may have. There may be complicated issues regarding community property and child support and custody which may arise. It is helpful to talk to an attorney to determine if an annulment is a viable option for you.
At Davies Wegner Law, we are experienced with the law regarding annulments and can help guide you through this difficult process. Please call us at 310-481-0300 to set up a free consultation where we can help explain your rights and responsibilities under the law.