With all the excitement that builds up in the run-up to the wedding, nobody ever thinks that anything could go wrong. However, sometimes things do go wrong and the couple is left with little choice but to end the marriage.
An annulment is one way of ending a marriage. It is different from a divorce in the sense that the marriage is completely wiped from history as if it never happened. Any rights such as paternity over children or the right to demand child support are lost. You must therefore clearly understand the consequences of opting for an annulment. Get some advice and representation from experienced attorneys such as Abogados de Familia en Orange County.
Annulment VS Divorce
- Divorce: To divorce is to legally dissolve a marriage. With the dissolution, both parties are returned to the single status and are free to remarry. The law still recognizes that there was a marriage which ended legally. Both parties have some rights especially if there were children born of the union. These are rights such as paternity, visitation, custody and child support.
- Annulment: This is the revocation or cancellation of a marriage. With this option, the marriage is completely wiped out and the courts will not recognize you as ever having been married.
Reasons Why a Marriage May Qualify for an Annulment
- One of the spouses was underage at the time of marriage.
- One of the spouses was physically incapable of consummating the marriage.
- The parties are related by blood.
- One of the parties does not have the mental capacity to understand the nature of marriage.
- One of the parties was coerced into the marriage, for instance through fraud.
If the court is convinced that your marriage is invalid, then it will rule that the marriage never existed from the viewpoint of the law. Though not as complicated as divorces, annulments must still fulfill some requirements.
The Process of Getting an Annulment in California
- File your request with a court in your county and ensure you are within the statute of limitations for an annulment. If the reason for annulment is based on age, force or physical incapacity, you have up to four years to file. If the reason is fraud, you have four years from when you discovered the fraud. For the basis of unsound mind, you can file any time.
- File the proper documents with the court. The details to include in your petition are; background information about your marriage, the reasons for requesting an annulment or the terms you want to be included. It is prudent to check both the ‘nullity’ and ‘dissolution’ options on the form and write ‘alternative’ close to the dissolution option. This is in the event that the court dismisses your annulment petition.
- Complete the summons to notify your spouse of the petition for annulment. You must notify them within 30 days. They also have 30 days to respond to the petition. You are expected to achieve an uncontested proceeding after which you and your spouse must attend a hearing in court. If your request is valid, and the documents in order, your request will be granted.
You need the guidance of experts such as Abogados de Familia en Orange County to guide you through the process of annulment and also to represent you during the hearing in order to get the results you desire without experiencing drawbacks caused by lack of information.