An annulment is a legal procedure that renders a marriage void, as if it had never existed. Unlike a divorce, which impliedly affirms the validity of the marriage at its inception, a marriage is subject to annulment if it was void or voidable from the start because of some legal defect in the parties or a defect in the marital relationship.
A court may grant an annulment if the marital relationship would be incestuous; bigamous; if a party was below 18 years old and had not secured written consent from his or her parents; a party was of unsound mind and could not render consent; the marriage was entered into because of force or fraud; or if a party cannot physically consummate the marriage. (Family Code sections 2200, 2201, 2210.) A California family law court will not consider granting an annulment under any other circumstances, and “irreconcilable differences” is not a proper basis for annulment.
Unlike divorce, an annulled marriage may not be subject to community property distribution, though this varies depending on the circumstances. Call us for a free phone consultation and find out if you qualify.
While divorces are commonly granted, annulments are very rare. The party requesting an annulment has a high burden to prove that an annulment is warranted; thus, annulments take longer and are often more complicated than divorces. However, they may be favored for a variety of reasons, including the different property distribution rights or the revocation of certain contracts made in reliance on the marriage. Annulments also may be favored for religious reasons or to effect a more profound disassociation from a party.
If you are seeking an annulment, you will need an experienced Southern California family law attorney to guide you through this difficult and complicated process. Courts do not favor annulling marriages, so you must clearly establish that a proper basis for annulment exists. In addition, issues that are not relevant in divorce, such as the “fault” of the parties in entering the marital relation, are highly relevant in determining whether any quasi-community property rights exist or determining attorney’s fees. A party in a marriage subject to annulment may have to bring an annulment proceeding within a certain period of time, or lose the right to annul the marriage. For these reasons, contact a Southern California family law lawyer to help you annul your marriage.
If you or a loved one is seeking an annulment, you will need an experienced Southern California family law attorney who knows the law and will guide you through the legal process. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years experience in family law. Call us today at (888) 749-7428 or visit us at our website at www.wkfamilylaw.com. We will be there when you call.