Divorce is not the only way to end a marriage. There is a way to legally annul a marriage or domestic partnership, which essentially means that, in the eyes of the law, it is as though the marriage never existed or occurred in the first place. Not every marriage qualifies for annulment, however.
This option typically applies in instances where the marriage should not have been valid in the first place, such as a marriage entered into under force or between one or more persons who have prior existing marriages.
While a divorce and an annulment both bring about a determination about a marriage, they are drastically different. A divorce ends an existing marriage that is seen as legally valid by the court. By contrast, an annulment is granted when the court finds that the marriage was never valid to begin with. An annulment means that, in the eyes of the law, that marriage never really existed.
In California, there are specific grounds under which a marriage may be annulled:
With over 130 years of combined experience among our attorneys, and an unwavering commitment to providing personalized support, we at Moshtael Family Law are here to provide the help you need with your annulment. Schedule a consultation to talk about your needs and options.
If you wish to file for an annulment you must file your request before the statute of limitations runs out. In California, these limitations depend on the circumstances surrounding your annulment. If you file on the basis of age, force, or physical incapacity, you have four years to file from the time of your marriage. If you file on the basis of fraud, you have four years to file from the date you discovered the fraud.
After filing, you have 30 days to notify your spouse of the petition for annulment. From there, your spouse then has 30 days to respond to the petition. You and your spouse must achieve an uncontested proceeding before you can go to court for your annulment request.
Since an annulled marriage is not seen as valid, the children born during that marriage can technically be viewed as though they were born to single parents. However, you can always ask a judge to establish paternity. Additionally, in California, fathers are protected by the presumption of paternity – this is the legal assumption that the former husband is the father, even if the marriage was not valid.
If you believe you may qualify for an annulment, the Orange County annulment lawyers at Moshtael Family Law can offer experienced, knowledgeable insight. Nullity of a marriage or domestic partnership is a legal matter with certain complexities and timelines that must be considered. Our attorneys can ensure you qualify, help you with all documentation, and guide you through the necessary legal proceedings.
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