California law allows a marriage to dissolve if there was no legal basis for the marriage in the first place; this is accomplished with an annulment. When the courts grant an annulment, this will essentially invalidate the marriage, as though it had never occurred.
Many couples choose annulment, as an alternative to legal separation or divorce. One reason is that the process is usually less time-consuming and stressful for all involved. It does not matter if you were married for two days or twenty years—there are no limits as to how long the marriage lasted to be eligible for an annulment. However, there are some legal requirements that you must first meet.
Filing for Annulment in CA
Before beginning the annulment process, you must first determine that you have valid grounds for seeking an annulment. Unless this is proven, the courts cannot grant the annulment.
You must present at least one of these grounds to file for annulment:
- One or the other spouse was already married and is committing bigamy
- The petitioning spouse was not 18 years old by the time they were married
- One or the other spouse misled or misrepresented the other spouse
- One or the other spouse was unable to consummate the marriage due to impotence or sexual dysfunction
- You were forced into the marriage or did not give consent to the marriage
- One or the other spouse was physically incapacitated (must file within 4 years of the wedding)
One of the drawbacks to filing for annulment is that because the marriage was viewed as having no legal basis, then one would also lose out on the ability to obtain child support or receive spousal support. The other caveat is that the laws that protect couples marital property do not apply to an annulled marriage.
Have Questions? Contact Us!
As a Westlake Village divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff has over 30 years of experience helping spouses who are going through divorce, annulment, and other family law matters. I can guide you through the complex legal system and stay on top of every phase of your annulment case.
Be sure to contact me today to discuss your matter in detail. Your initial consultation is no cost and no-obligation.