(Family Code Section 2200)
If I am not married, but in a registered domestic partnership, may I get an annulment?
Yes. Since January 1, 2005, when Assembly Bill 205 was passed by the California legislature, domestic partners gained “the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties…granted to and imposed upon spouses.” Thus, domestic partnerships are similar to marriages. Since marriages can end with an annulment, domestic partnerships may be terminated with an annulment as well.
Does the length of my marriage affect my ability to file for an annulment?
No. Generally, annulments do not depend on the length of the marriage or domestic partnership. A party’s ability to request an annulment depends on whether the party can prove to the court one of the legal reasons that renders the marriage void or voidable. But longer marriages are more difficult to annul than shorter marriages because there are more factors for the court to consider.
Is there a time limit for when I can file for an annulment?
Yes. While divorces and legal separations do not have a deadline, there is a statute of limitations when filing for an annulment. A statute of limitations is a deadline to bring a lawsuit.
The deadline to file an annulment depends on the legal reason you want to use in obtaining an annulment. Here are the statutes of limitations for the various legal reasons:
- Age: If you got married while you were younger than 18 years-old, then you must file for an annulment 4 years after you turned 18 years-old.
- Prior existing marriage: In this situation, either party may file for an annulment so long as both parties to the current marriage are alive. The prior existing spouse may also file for an annulment at any time.
- Unsound mind: If your spouse or relative is of unsound mind, you may file for an annulment any time before you or your spouse dies.
- Fraud: If you entered a marriage because of fraud, you must file for an annulment within 4 years after you discovered the fraud.
- Force: If you entered a marriage because you were forced, you must file for an annulment within 4 years after you got married.
- Physical incapacity: If your spouse is physically incapacitated, you must file for an annulment within 4 years after you got married.
What is an example of fraud that can render a marriage voidable?
When a party requests an annulment based on fraud, the party must prove there was fraudulent misrepresentation and the party relied on the misrepresentation. Fraud exists in the following situations:
- When one party never intended on getting married
- When one party never intended to engage in sexual relations or assume other marital duties
- When the marriage was for the purpose of attaining citizenship
- When one party conceals a substance abuse problem
- When a party conceals the fact that he or she is sterile or unable to procreate; OR
- When the woman is pregnant with another man’s child and claims the husband was the father.
If you are citing concealment as the legal reason for the annulment, it must relate to a purpose of marriage, such as procreation. Concealment of inadequate finances, promiscuousness, temper, or extravagance does not render a marriage void or voidable.
What should I do if the court denies my request for an annulment?
If the court denies your request for an annulment, you may then file an amended petition changing the annulment to a divorce or legal separation. Afterwards, the laws applicable to divorces and legal separation will govern your case.
Where can I find an experienced California Annulment Attorney?
Annulment cases can be very difficult and complex for all parties involved. If you are seeking an annulment, it is important that you have an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the legal process. The skilled attorneys from Wallin & Klarich have represented clients in annulment cases for over 30 years. You can rely on our knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible result in your case.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Victorville, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, Torrance and Ventura , there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney available wherever you happen to live.
To speak with a Wallin & Klarich San Bernardino annulment attorney today, please call us at (888) 749-7428. We will be there when you call.