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The unfortunate reality is that some newlyweds realize very soon after exchanging vows that their marriage was a mistake. Divorce is the most common method available for dissolving the bonds of marriage legally, but an annulment may be a faster and easier process. Through an annulment, the marriage is ruled by the court as being invalid, and it essentially is erased from legal records. You will not be considered divorced. Instead, your marriage was never legally valid if you got an annulment. With this in mind, you can see that an annulment may be a superior option for some people if you qualify for it, but you need to learn more about it before you determine how to proceed.
Qualifying for an Annulment
There are very specific rules that must be met in order to qualify for an annulment in New York. For example, both parties must be at least 18 years old for the marriage to be valid in New York. If not, both parents of a minor as well as a judge in some cases must consent and approve of the marriage of a minor child. In addition, the marriage in Long Island or throughout New York may be annulled if one party is not mentally sound or if one party cannot consummate the marriage through a physical, sexual act. A marriage in Long Island may also be annulled if one party was coerced into the marriage or if fraud took place.
All annulments must be approved by a judge through an official hearing. The party who is requesting an annulment must prove his or her qualifications for an annulment during the hearing. With this in mind, hiring a Long Island lawyer who is familiar with marriage and divorce laws in New York to represent you may provide you with the best overall results.
Legal Annulment of Void Marriages
A marriage can also be declared to be a nullity by a court. This means that the marriage is automatically void and would not be legally recognized. While the record of marriage and annulment will remain on the books, the parties can consider themselves to have never been married to each other. This can happen in the case of incestuous marriages or bigamous marriages, as these types of marriages are illegal in New York. A spouse in a void marriage can bring an action in court asking for a declaration of the nullity of a void marriage.
Even after a marriage gets annulled and the spouses can consider themselves to never have been married, children of the marriage will nevertheless be considered legitimate children of married parents. Parents will continue to be legally responsible for the children of the marriage in terms of custody, visitation, and child support payments, and will be subject to relevant laws. Moreover, the annulled marriage will still be subject to the laws regarding division of marital property in New York State.
Understanding How Children Are Affected by an Annulment
Many marriages in New York are annulled within a few months or less, and children from the marriage are often not an issue. However, in the event the couple had children during their marriage, both parents may be legally responsible for the upbringing of the children. This means that even though the marriage may be classified as invalid, a child custody arrangement, child support and visitation must be arranged by the court. In this aspect, an annulment is closely related to a divorce proceeding. Legal representation from Long Island annulment lawyers may help you to set up a child custody and support arrangement that is most equitable for you and for the children of the marriage.
Dividing Marital Assets in an Annulment
In New York, any assets that you entered the marriage with remain yours after a divorce. Because an annulment rules a marriage as invalid, all pre-marital assets that you had before the marriage will remain yours as well. However, in the event you and the other party purchased marital assets, applicable laws regarding the division of marital assets in New York will apply.
Since annulments are most commonly granted after short-lived marriages, it is usually fairly simple for the courts to determine who gets what. If a judge grants an annulment after a much longer period of time, however, things can become complicated, especially if there are children involved. The courts will try to trace the acquisition of specific assets back to their original purposes in order to determine the rightful owner. If this is not possible, the courts can use their discretion to attempt to return the spouses to a position they were in before the marriage occurred. An attorney can advocate on your behalf and assist you in getting through the process.
This aspect of annulment law is very similar to divorce law, and you may need professional legal representation to ensure that you receive a fair and equitable division of assets during the annulment proceedings.
Putting Long Island Annulment Lawyers to Work for You
Some annulment cases are straightforward, and they are filed before any children are produced or before marital property is accumulated. These are generally basic legal proceedings, but you must still prove your case for meeting annulment qualifications in New York before the marriage can be officially dissolved by the judge. Proving mental or physical issues, fraud and more can be difficult to do in a court of law, and professional legal representation is often necessary if you want to enjoy the best possible outcome from your annulment case.
Annulments Filed Years Into Marriage
On the other hand, some Long Island annulments are filed many months or even years after the exchange of marital vows. Marital property or children may be produced in the marriage. The burden of proving that you meet the qualifications for an annulment are only one aspect of the annulment to consider. Division of marital property and child custody and support arrangements must also be determined through the court. As you can see, the skills of a marital law attorney can benefit you substantially in cases such as these.
Whether you have decided that you want to proceed with filing for an annulment through the court system or you simply want to explore your options, you must carefully analyze all factors. A consultation with a marital law attorney in Long Island can help you to learn more about your options and the potential outcome of a legal case. This is the first step to take if you are interested in an annulment, so request a consultation with Long Island annulment lawyers today.