Annulment and divorce are proceedings that can terminate your marriage. The difference is that with an annulment, in the eyes of the law, your marriage never happened at all. To be able to file for an annulment, your marriage must be void or voidable. Otherwise, you must go through divorce proceedings.
How Can I File for an Annulment?
A void marriage is one that is invalid because it was illegal. For example, if you are already married to someone when you married a second person, you commit bigamy. Bigamy is against the law, making your second marriage a void one.
On the other hand, a voidable marriage is one that is not based on an illegal act and can therefore exist. However, there are grounds for a voidable marriage to be annulled. These grounds are:
- A spouse was not informed that the partner was permanently impotent prior to the marriage;
- A spouse was under the legal age to marry according to the state where the marriage happened or;
- A spouse did not have the mental capacity to agree to the marriage. Reasons can include serious mental impairment, alcohol intoxication, or the spouse was under the influence of drugs.
It is important to talk to a divorce lawyer so you can get all the existing grounds. Note that the above are only some of the most common grounds.
When the marriage was very short, both individuals can just walk away once the case is closed. However, it gets more complicated if the couple has under-aged children and/or properties that they acquired together.
Legal Effects on Children
Even though an annulled marriage is treated as if it never existed, the children born during the said marriage are still considered legitimate. If the couple had children together during their marriage, they have to go through procedures for child custody. These are the same procedures done in a divorce proceeding.
For legal effects on children, the court will base its decision on what is best for the child’s interest and welfare. It will award custody on the parent deemed best to take care and supervise the children. The court will also issue a formal court order addressing other concerns such as child support and visitation schedules.
Legal Effects on Properties
An annulment returns both partners to their status before the marriage. The court will do its best to put both parties to their positions prior to their marriage.
If a spouse owned a house before getting married, that spouse will have full ownership of it the after the annulment. The other spouse will not have any legal rights on the said house because it is as if they were not married at all.
If the marriage to be annulled had existed for several years or decades, couples may have acquired several properties together. In this circumstance, the court will perform a division of assets according to the particular state’s divorce law or jurisdiction.
Hire a Lawyer Who Will Better Explain Your Rights Under the Law
A state’s law and jurisdiction can be complicated. If you are filing for an annulment, it is best to call a lawyer. There are a lot of factors that should be considered in an annulment. It is in your best interest to call a lawyer who can help you in this kind of proceeding. Contact a reputable lawyer today.
Written by Carson and Coil, the leading divorce attorney in Jefferson City, MO.