An annulment is a process that terminates a marriage. When a court awards a petition for an annulment, the court is in effect declaring the marriage nullified. Annulments can be distinctive from divorces. When a divorce is awarded, the marriage is deemed to be dissolved.
Nevertheless, the fact the divorced spouses were once married still remains. That fact forms the basis of a party’s forthcoming obligations, like spousal maintenance or child support. Conversely, when an annulment is awarded, the effect is to address the marriage as though it never existed.
Typically, there is no time period (for instance, 3 years, 10 years) following the marriage by which an annulment had to be sought. Practical factors, although, may make acquiring an annulment sooner, instead of later, a sensible idea. The longer a party waits or chooses to petition for an annulment, the more convoluted it becomes for a court to fairly split assets and resolve child custody and support matters.
A party that leads an action for annulment later instead of sooner might have a harder time submitting proof. The reasoning, among others, memories are lost, ins and outs are forgotten, and witnesses might pass away or become inaccessible, with the passing of time.
Additionally, many individuals request an annulment to escape the social or religious disfavor of divorce. Hindrance or wait in acquiring an annulment is, in fact, a delay in an individual’s ability to get remarried, if they want to do so likewise within their faith, or for other reasons unique to the individual.
Am I Going to Need a Family Law Attorney for Assistance with Annulment Matters?
The process of acquiring an annulment, or upholding against a claim of one, can be arduous and challenging to navigate. Consequently, you might want to consult with a family law attorney.
The attorney can evaluate the details and circumstances of your case, and counsel you as to what annulment proceedings entail. The attorney may also suggest options as to how to go forward and may represent you at hearings.
Annulling a Void Marriage
Whereas a divorce dissolves a legal marriage, an annulment demonstrates that the marriage never legally happened. For qualification, your marriage is required to be either legally void or voidable. When your marriage doesn’t fit into one of these classifications, you might have to get a divorce in lieu.
A void marriage is marriage that doesn’t exist legally and is against the law in a lot of states. For instance, an incestuous marriage is deemed void. Including polygamous or bigamous marriages, in which you or your spouse were married to another person at the date of your wedding, no matter of whether you knew or not. Because these types of marriages were never authentic at all, you can typically annul such marriages at any time so long as each of you are still alive.
Annulling a Voidable Marriage
Contrary to a void marriage, in which was never legal anyway, a voidable marriage is legal but so faulty that the law says it shouldn’t be acknowledged. For instance, if your spouse misled or forced you to get married, or if one of you didn’t understand what you were doing because of mental incapacity, you might be able to persuade a court that it’s a voidable marriage.
Voidable marriages may be annulled in a lot of states. Nevertheless, the amount of time you must do so following you getting married may vary from a couple of months to a couple of years subject to your specific circumstance and your state’s statute of limitations. The time frame typically begins the day you find out about the circumstances. In many states, a court also takes into consideration your actions following them finding out your marriage is a voidable one when establishing whether it qualifies for an annulment. For instance, in Virginia, you are required to file inside of 2 years, and you can’t have lived with one another following you learning about the circumstances that turned your marriage a voidable one. When you don’t meet each of the requirements, then the court won’t annul your marriage.
Demonstrating that your marriage is void or voidable takes time and resources, in which can bite into a lot of the statutory deadline you have to get your marriage annulment. You should start collecting the documents required for the kind you think you qualify for sooner than later so there is enough time to prepare your case for court. For more information concerning the process, go to your state’s website and learn more about what factors need to be met, and the time span you have to start the process.
Banks, L. (2020, August 03). What’s the legal difference between annulment and divorce? Retrieved February 02, 2021, from https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/whats-the-legal-difference-between-annulment-and-divorce
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