Carlsbad Annulment Attorneys
Annulment (Nullity): A Court Ruling Rendering a Marriage Void
An annulment in the context of California family law is an adjudication
by a family court judge that a legal marital relationship never existed.
Once a judgment of nullity is entered, the legal effect is that the marriage
itself never happened. Only in certain situations will the parties to
an annulled marriage have rights similar to those of a legally married couple.
A common misconception regarding annulments in California is that you can
request an annulment due to “buyer’s remorse.” This
is not the case. In fact,
so long as both parties were of sound mind and no fraudulent activity or
intentions existed, even a marriage that’s only been official for
one day cannot be legally annulled in California.
A marriage that qualifies for an annulment is either void as illegal or
voidable due to conditions present at the time the marriage was entered into.
Bigamous marriages (marriages where one party is married to someone else at the time) are
automatically nullified upon a showing that a prior marital relationship existed.
Marriages that do not meet the legal requirements of a valid marriage (marriage license and ceremony) are also automatically nullified.
Every other type of nullity requires additional proof and the family court
judge has discretion to grant or deny the request for nullity.
If you are considering having your marriage annulled,
contact our team before doing so. We would be happy to review the circumstances of your
situation and assess your options for moving forward. Call us at
Voidable Discretionary Annulments
Voidable Discretionary Annulments include the following:
- Marriage obtained by force.
- One party has a physical incapacity to copulate.
- One party was of unsound mind at the time the marriage took place.
- Fraud perpetrated by one party to induce the innocent partner into marriage.
Nullity based on fraud may include concealment of a pregnancy at the time
of marriage, concealment of sterility, lying about a criminal record,
or immigration fraud, to name a few.
Your Rights as a Putative Spouse in a Nullified Marriage
Regardless of the manner by which a marriage is nullified, one or both
parties may have the same rights to property division and financial support
as they would in a valid marriage. This is because of the “putative
spouse” legal doctrine.
If requested, the family court judge will grant putative spouse rights
to the party of an annulled marriage that had a good faith belief that
the marriage was valid. A putative spouse is entitled to spousal support
and all property division rights that he or she would have had if the
marriage was valid all along.