Can I get an annulment?
Unlike a divorce, an annulment undoes the marriage. It’s like the “undo” button on a computer or control+alt+delete on a PC. While divorce is the remedy for a valid marriage. An annulment is the proper remedy when seeking to undo a marriage that was never valid. An action for annulment is procedurally similar to an action for divorce and can address issues of custody for joint children and property that was acquired in joint tenancy. A person is not eligible for alimony in an action for annulment. Grounds for annulment include:
- That a prior marriage was never properly dissolved
- The parties are blood relatives
- Lack of mental or physical capacity to marry (underage, mentally ill or disabled)
- One or both parties were intoxicated at the time
- lack of contractual intent
- fraud, duress, misrepresentation of religion
- refusal of intercourse- no consummation of the marriage
- No marriage license
- proxy marriage
- concealment of a prior marriage
In the event you can qualify for an annulment, you may end up in a better place than you would have going through a divorce. You should carefully consider whether or not you may qualify for an annulment, and talk to an attorney about whether you can qualify to file a Petition for Annulment.
In the past several years, we have secured several annulments. On one occasion, a father of a young man in the military came to see us. His son had given him a power of attorney and asked that we secure a divorce from his wife. They had been married for almost two years and the entire marriage had been a disaster. His wife had cheated on him several times, stolen his truck, threatened suicide while he was deployed and more. He was 21 years old, and the couple had no assets and no children. We filed for an annulment and were able to reach a settlement annulling the marriage. In this case, it’s unclear if we had taken the case before a judge if the annulment would have been granted. The bottom line for the young soldier is that he would rather not be divorced at 21. Getting an annulment made it slightly easier to move forward with his life.
Ultimately, this is a strategic decision, talk to your lawyer so we can determine what’s the best route for you.