What is an Annulment?

For most people looking to end their marriage, divorce is the process they follow. However, for a select number of people an annulment may be worth considering. Divorce and an annulment both sever marital ties, but the legal effects are very different. Whereas a divorce ends a valid marriage, an annulment declares that the marriage was never valid and it is as if the marriage never existed. Here at Mello & Pickering, LLP, our team of attorneys located in San Jose can help you understand your options and whether you qualify for an annulment.

Possible Grounds for Requesting an Annulment

Pursuant to Family Code section 2210, a marriage may qualify for an annulment under the following circumstances:

  • Party did not have capability to consent
  • Party had another living spouse
  • Party was of unsound mind, unless party freely cohabitated with spouse after coming to reason
  • Consent obtained by force or fraud, unless party freely cohabitated with spouse afterwards
  • Party was physically incapable of entering marriage

For each circumstance, there is also a status of limitations for which a Petition and Request for Annulment must be filed as follows:

  • Lack of ability to consent: Underage party within four years of reaching age of consent or by parent before party has reached age of consent
  • Another living spouse: Either party during life or by former spouse
  • Unsound mind: Any time before death
  • Fraud: Within four years of discovery of fraud by injured party
  • Consent by force: Within four years of marriage by injured party
  • Physical incapability: Within four years of marriage by injured party

How to Obtain an Annulment

Similar to a divorce, a party must open a case by filing a Petition and Request for an Annulment (FL-100) and other related Petition forms. Once these forms are filed, they must be served upon the other party. A hearing will later take place in which the party requesting the annulment (or both parties if they are both requesting an annulment) will be required to explain their reasoning and provide evidence necessary to convince the Court that the marriage should be annulled.

Effects of an Annulment

As an annulment would result in a complete void of the marriage, rights that would normally exist in the divorce, including spousal support and community property rights would not apply. It is very important to understand this aspect of an annulment before pursuing the same. This is where speaking with an experience family law attorney would be extremely helpful.

Schedule a Consultation with a San Jose Family Law Attorney

If you need assistance with an annulment, the experienced attorneys at Mello and Pickering, LLP can provide the legal support and advocacy you need. Our attorneys are trained professionals, specializing in the field of family law. We can help ensure your financial interests are protected, and help you pursue the best course of action. For your free consultation, call (408) 288-7800 or email mpllp@sjfamilylaw.com.

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