Most people never assume they’ll know the ins and outs of divorce or annulment in their lives. They know of it, they might know people that go through it, but they never assume their own marriage will end on either ground. Of course, it happens to many. If you find yourself unable to stay married to someone for any reason, you might decide it’s time to end things. If your relationship falls into one of the legal categories that allow you to annul your marriage rather than divorce, you might want to go that route.
Why annulment rather than divorce?
There’s nothing wrong with being divorced from someone you no longer love or respect, but you’d rather be annulled if your marriage falls onto the spectrum of legal annulment purposes. Annulling your marriage voids it completely. You are officially not married, you’ve never been married, and you are not considered a divorced person. You are a single person, and you haven’t any marriages on your record. You aren’t going to get married to your second husband later in life. Your next husband will be your first husband in the eyes of the law.
How do I annul my marriage?
If you want to erase your marriage completely, you must apply for an annulment, but you must be in a situation that allows it to happen. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married five days or 50 years if you have a marriage that falls into any of the annulment categories.
– You must both be of sound mind
– You must both be capable of making decisions
– Neither of you must already be married
– There must not be fraud
– There must not be force
It’s not always easy to understand what this means. If you are drinking and decide it would be hilarious to get married in Las Vegas, you could annul your marriage on the grounds neither of you was of sound mind when the decision was made. If one of you was not a legal adult or has some sort of disability, you could state you were not capable of making a good decision on your own. If you find out his first divorce was never technically finalized in court, you can annul your marriage.
If he tells you he wants kids and you plan on having them right away after you get married only to find out he had a vasectomy years before meeting you, you can file for annulment on the grounds of fraud. If you feel threatened or marry him under duress, you can file for an annulment. The moment your annulment is complete, you are a single woman and you can legally change your name and your marital status back to single.
Your next marriage is your own marriage, and you are not considered someone who was ever married before. It doesn’t matter if your first marriage lasted two hours or 20 years. If you are in a situation where your marriage is over and you want a way out, you should see if an annulment is an option in your situation. Call an attorney to help you deal with the legal aspect of it all, and find out what you can do to end your marriage while still maintaining your legally single status. It’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds, but you should hire an attorney.
An experienced divorce attorney is someone who can help you navigate the process of ending your marriage through divorce or an annulment, and he or she can also help you determine what you want and how you want to live following your marriage. Calling an attorney can make the situation a little easier on everyone involved, and it helps with the legal difficulties that often come with filing for divorce or an annulment.
Can I Contest an Annulment?
When most couples decide their marriage is over, the usual route taken is divorce. However, when one spouse seeks to render the marriage as having never existed, they will ask the court for an annulment. In most cases, the annulment is mutually agreed upon by both parties. Yet in some cases, one spouse will object to the idea of an annulment and decide to contest the request. If this is done, the contesting spouse should work with an experienced attorney to ensure they have exhausted every possible legal option.
Grounds for Annulment
While there are limited options for seeking an annulment, there are grounds under which the court may grant the request. Among the most common are fraud, bigamy, insanity, and an inability for the couple to have sexual relations. However, if an annulment is sought, the spouse filing the request will be unable to seek any type of spousal support or distribution of property.
How to Contest an Annulment
In an annulment case, the person seeking to contest the annulment cannot do so by simply telling the court they want to remain married. Instead, they must prove that the grounds for requesting the annulment never happened. If the court decides to hear the case, it will not be settled based just on written materials or on the word of one spouse. Rather, the spouse seeking the annulment will have the burden of proof on them to show that the grounds they claim exist actually do so each day for the couple.
Filing for Divorce
In cases where one party is filing for annulment, it is important to remember that filing for divorce is still an option that can be done at any time. If a spouse is contesting an annulment, this does not legally prevent them from filing for divorce in order to end the marriage. However, by filing for divorce, the contesting spouse opens up the possibility of gaining spousal support or having the couple’s property distributed to their advantage.
Granting an Annulment
While a spouse may file for an annulment, the fact remains that the chances of it being granted are very low. Therefore, it may be to the benefit of the other spouse to contest the annulment as much as possible in order to either remain married or to force the other spouse into divorce proceedings. If there is a tremendous amount of money or property at stake, the contesting spouse’s attorney may advise them that it is to their benefit to stand their ground in order to end the marriage on financial terms that will be to their advantage. In cases such as these, a contesting spouse should never try to navigate the legal process alone. Instead, employing the services of an experienced divorce attorney can turn what could be a legally disastrous situation into one where the contesting spouse’s interests can be protected. Ultimately, if an annulment is to be contested, the ramifications of the ruling can have a dramatic impact on both parties.
This article is by Nima Haddadi, a dui lawyer in Los Angeles, who also handles civil cases like divorce, immigration, and personal injury.