There are many ways to end your marriage in California but of all of them, annulments are some of the most misunderstood. Many television shows and movies portray annulments in a number of different ways, and these are not always correct. So, if you have gotten married and now wish to end it, you may be wondering if you are eligible for an annulment. Our Campbell divorce lawyer explains more below.
What is an Annulment?
Many people do not fully understand what getting an annulment means. When a couple gets a divorce, they legally dissolve the marriage. The courts will understand that a marriage once existed, but that it no longer does. During a divorce, terms such as alimony and property division must be decided on before the case can be finalized.
An annulment essentially means that the marriage never happened and wipes it from the record. An annulment essentially erases any record of the marriage so terms such as the division of assets and spousal support is not necessary. Due to the fact that the marriage never occurred, these terms also never applied. However, a judge may award temporary alimony just in case the annulment does not go through and the couple must obtain a divorce or legal separation. This is especially true when there is a dispute as to the grounds for the annulment.
The Legal Grounds for Obtaining an Annulment
Not all couples who want to end their marriage qualify for an annulment. To show that you are eligible, you must prove to the court that your marriage never should have happened. There are two reasons why a marriage is never legal in California and is therefore considered void:
- The two parties are blood relatives
- One party was married to a someone else who was still alive at the time of marriage
Then there are other reasons why a marriage can be voided by a Judge, but there is usually a time limit for when you can make some of these claims:
- One of the parties did not have the legal capacity to consent to the marriage (under the age of 18)
- One of the parties was not of sound mind when the marriage took place
- One of the parties was coerced (forced) into agreeing to the marriage
- One party was incapable of consummating the marriage
It is important to note that if you have grounds for annulment, you should discontinue living with your spouse as soon as possible. If you continue to reside with your spouse, the court will presume that you are still involved in a relationship with them. In these cases, the court may not grant the annulment even if there are proper grounds.
For example, you may have been coerced into a marriage. If in the future, you willingly choose to continue living with your spouse and you are not coerced into staying, the court would likely decide that you are not eligible for an annulment, even if you once had grounds.
Our Divorce Lawyers in Campbell Can Advise on Your Case
If you have gotten married and are wondering about your legal options to dissolve the marriage, our Campbell divorce lawyers at Hepner & Pagan, LLP, can inform you of what they are. Call us now at 408-688-9153 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.