WHEN THERE WAS NEVER A VALID MARRIAGE
Is Annulment An Option?
The term annulment often conjures up ideas regarding religious beliefs and how certain faiths allow members to essentially revoke their marriages. However, an annulment or “nullity” is also a legal process by which a person can have their marriage declared void and null from the very beginning. Understanding the distinctions between an annulment and divorce can help you determine your legal rights.
Annulment vs. Divorce
Divorces legally end what the state of California considers to be a valid marriage. Conversely, an annulment claims that the marriage was never valid or legal, and therefore was null and void from the start. Without a legal marriage to begin with, the decisions regarding how to finalize a relationship differ drastically according to the law than those of divorce.
Grounds for Annulment
Not every relationship will have legal grounds for annulment, and in fact, annulments are rarely granted. In order to qualify for an annulment, specific grounds must exist, and even then, annulment is not guaranteed.
Never Legally Valid
Marriage in the state of California is never legally valid if it is between two close blood relatives (incest), or between two people where one is already previously legally married to another person (bigamy).
Additional Grounds for Annulment
If a marriage includes any of the following listed items, it may be declared invalid.
- One spouse was under 18 years of age
- One spouse finds out that their previous spouse is alive that was thought to be dead due to an absence of 5 or more years
- One spouse was of “unsound mind” at the time of the marriage
- One spouse committed fraud against the other spouse in order to get married
- One spouse forced the other spouse to get married
- One spouse lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage and never disclosed this to the other party
Statute of Limitations
You only have a certain amount of time to file for an annulment in the state of California, unlike a divorce or a legal separation. Once this statute of limitations (deadline) occurs, you will have no legal recourse regarding getting an annulment. Obtaining an annulment means that because your marriage was never valid, you will likely not have the same rights or legal obligations as those partners getting divorced will. It is critical you visit with an experienced attorney in order to ensure your legal rights are protected and you file your annulment before the deadline, and you lose the legal ability to do so.
Learn How an Annulment Attorney Can Help You
Annulments can be a time-consuming process that involve a great deal of complex legal analysis and require a great deal of evidence. Contact an experienced attorney familiar with annulments today at the Law Offices of Lisa R. McCall, A Professional Corporation, at 714.644.8760 or online today to schedule a consultation, and learn how to ensure your legal rights are protected if you make the decision to file for an annulment in the state of California.