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Marriage Annulment

In an action for annulment (also called “nullity of marriage”), a judge will make a determination as to whether or not your marriage was legally entered into and, in turn, valid. To receive an order of annulment, you must be able to provide the court with evidence showing why your marriage should be treated as if it never took place. This type of action requires a significantly greater burden of proof than that of a Dissolution of Marriage, and, almost always, requires a trial on the issue, prior to the court addressing any issues of property division; logically, this is because if there is no marriage, this finding will affect how certain property acquired during the “marriage” will be treated for division purposes.

In an annulment (also called "nullity of marriage"), a judge can say that a marriage is not legally valid. There are several other reasons why a judge may say that a marriage is not legally valid.

To get an annulment, you must be able to prove to the judge that one of these reasons is true in your case. This makes an annulment case very different from a divorce or a legal separation. "Irreconcilable differences" are not a reason for getting an annulment.

Getting an annulment doesn't depend on how long you've been married. Even if you've been married only a very short time, you may not be able to prove to the judge that your case has one of the legal reasons that makes your marriage invalid.

When you ask the court for an annulment, you can also ask for orders on things like child custody and visitation, and child and spousal support.

If you are seeking a nullity of marriage or nullity of partnership, you will need to prove in a court hearing that your marriage satisfies one of the grounds listed below.  These must have applied at the time you and your spouse married or you and your partner registered:

  • Incest: incest means the spouses or registered partner are close blood relatives.
  • Bigamy: bigamy means a spouse or partner was knowingly married or registered to another person at the time of marriage or at the time of registration of domestic partnership.
  • Underage: underage means a spouse or partner was below age 18 years at the time of marriage or registration of domestic partnership and did not obtain parental consent or a court order permitting the marriage. 
  • Prior Existing Marriage or Prior Existing Domestic Partnership: prior existing marriage or prior existing domestic partnership means a spouse married or a partner registered on the mistaken belief that his or her previous marriage or partnership had ended in the death of the other spouse or partner, who in fact was still living.
  • Unsound Mind: unsound mind means a spouse or partner could not and has not formed the intent to marry or registered due to a mental condition.
  • Fraud: fraud means deception regarding a significant matter that led to the marriage or the partnership and continued until the breakup.
  • Force: force means threats or acts of harm were used to force one spouse or partner into the marriage or domestic partnership.

If you have any further questions or need additional information about our Family Law services, please do not hesitate to call (714) 441-5905.