With an annulment, a marriage is treated as though it never occurred. However, there are complex factors that influence whether an annulment is possible. With the help of an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney, you will have the information and representation you need.
As a specialist in family law, Charles M. Green can help you understand the issues involved in your case. He can explain how annulment works; whether your marriage meets the burden of proof for annulment; and how much time you have before the statute of limitations run out.
Annulment provides a legal decision that a valid marriage never occurred. This is different from a dissolution of marriage, or divorce, which ends a valid marriage.
Courts use different criteria to grant an annulment than they use for divorce. California divorces may be approved for a variety of reasons, but annulments require a specific set of factors.
One common misconception is that the length of a marriage influences whether you can get an annulment. In reality, even if you were married only for a short time, you may not be eligible for an annulment.
The court may find that your marriage is invalid for one of two reasons:
Charles M. Green can help you to explore your circumstances to identify whether your marriage may be annulled. A court with proper jurisdiction can void the marriage in these cases. If the marriage is not voidable, you may instead proceed with an ordinary divorce.
While issues such as the age of one of the spouses can invalidate a marriage, there are exceptions in certain cases. It’s essential to explore each of these factors fully to present the best case possible for annulment.
For example, if one of the parties was a minor but, after attaining age 18, “freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife” [CA Family Code § 2210(a)], the marriage may be considered valid. The length of the marriage may also come into play. A minor has four years from the time he / she reached the age of consent [CA Family Code § 2211(a)(1)] to annul a marriage on these grounds.
Clients often have questions about some of the complicated areas of the law related to annulment. Marriages may be found invalid for any of the following reasons:
Unsound mind. Either party was unable to understand the subject matter of the marriage contract and obligations.
Physical incapacity. Either party was “physically incapable” of engaging in normal copulation, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable.
Fraud. Either party’s consent to the marriage was obtained by some sort of fraud that goes to the very essence of the marital relation, such as concealment of sterility, an existing pregnancy, or of an intent not to terminate a sexual relationship with another.
On the surface, these issues may apply to your relationship. However, they are complex topics that require the expertise of a Los Angeles family law attorney.
After your marriage is annulled, you may be entitled to property and payments similar to those you might have after a divorce.
Charles M. Green can work with you to establish which assets are “quasi-marital”: property that would have been community or quasi-community had the marriage been valid. These marital property assets may be divided between you and the other party as if it were community property. In addition, you may be due financial support and attorney fees based on the judgment of the court.
Mr. Green can review your situation to offer you guidance in the legal decisions to come and effective representation before the court.