Rights After Judgment of Nullity
(Family Code Section 760 & 2251)
When a marriage or domestic partnership is terminated through a nullity proceeding, the rights of the parties are different from the rights reserved for spouses following a divorce.
As a community property jurisdiction, California requires that all community property (property obtained by either spouse during the marriage or domestic partnership) must be equally divided between the spouses when a valid marriage or domestic partnership is dissolved. This means, for example, that all the community property assets of the marriage or domestic partnership, including any real property, automobiles, and other investments, would be divided equally following dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership.
However, this property right only applies to marriages or domestic partnerships ending in death or divorce. If a marriage or domestic partnership is nullified, the parties have no right to equal distribution of the marital property at all. Other rights that may also be lost in an annulment are spousal support, succession or estate rights when a spouse dies, and legal rights regarding minor children from the relationship.
If a party to an invalid marriage or domestic partnership honestly believed in the validity of the marriage or domestic partnership – and had no reason to believe that any deficiencies existed – they may qualify as a “putative spouse.”
A putative spouse is entitled to the same property rights, support, and attorney fees as a spouse in a divorce proceeding. However, the party’s “good faith” belief in the validity of the marriage or domestic partnership must be based on their belief that the marriage or domestic partnership complies with the statutory requirements.
When a party is deemed a putative spouse, they will be entitled to “quasi-marital property,” which is treated exactly like community property. This means that a putative spouse, much like a spouse in a divorce proceeding, will be entitled to half of the marital property upon the termination of the marriage or domestic partnership through divorce, annulment, or legal separation. A putative spouse, however, may not have rights in the other spouse’s estate upon death; this is more of a probate law matter.
California Annulment Attorney
Whether a marriage or domestic partnership is terminated through divorce or an annulment can greatly impact the division of martial assets. It is very important that you seek the legal advice and expertise of a family law attorney who can help you determine whether an annulment is possible course of action for you. At Wallin & Klarich, our annulment attorneys have been in practice for over 30 years and will put that experience to work in representing your interests in marriage or domestic partnership annulment.
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.
Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.