An annulment (also called “nullity of domestic partnership” or “nullity of marriage”) is when a court decides that your marriage is null and void (meaning it can never be legally recognized as a marriage in the state of California, such as a marriage involving a spouse who is already legally married at the time of the union) or “voidable” (declared void by court decree).

Annulments have to be granted by a judge. Once a marriage is annulled it means that the marriage never existed. Reasons for filing for an annulment can include fraud, marriage by force, mental or physical incapacitation, one spouse is under 18 years of age, or one spouse is still married to someone else. Filing for an annulment is similar to filing for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation. Just like filing for divorce or legal separation, you must fill out and file with the Court the Summons (Form FL-110) and Petition (FL-100) in order to open your case. If there are minor children involved, then you must also file the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Form FL-105). These are the basic pleadings required in order to open your case, and once they are filed you will need to have your spouse personally served with the same. After the case is filed, evidence justifying the requested annulment will need to be presented to the Court and the Court will make the decision whether an annulment or nullity of marriage will be granted. It can be difficult in the early stages for parties to understand whether or not they qualify for an annulment. It is a common misconception for individuals to believe that they qualify for an annulment if their marriage was of short duration. The duration of the marriage is not a valid legal ground for requesting annulment. Mello & Pickering, LLP will assist you in determining whether or not you qualify for an annulment and if so, will assist you with this process. For those who do qualify to file for an annulment, it important to keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations that applies when filing for annulment. When the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations to file depends entirely upon the reason why the party is filing for an annulment. This is governed by statute and here at Mello & Pickering, LLP, we can help you determine whether your ability to file for annulment is barred by the statute of limitations.

Mello & Pickering, LLP is a family law firm cofounded by attorneys and family law practitioners Jennifer A. Mello and Traci J. Pickering. We represent clients throughout Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Alameda County, including couples that have filed for divorce and are residents of Morgan Hill, Saratoga, San Jose, Santa Clara, Los Altos, Campbell, Gilroy, Milpitas, Atherton, Mountain View, Pleasanton, Menlo Park, Hayward, and Fremont.

For your complimentary, free consultation, call Mello & Pickering, LLP at (408) 288-7800. You can also e-mail us at

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