When spouses decide to divorce, they must go through a legal process to end the marriage. When spouses decide to annul a marriage, they instead go through legal procedures to invalidate the marriage. Through an annulment, a marriage is removed from all legal records, thereby making the marriage legally non-existent. There are a number of specific factors that make a marriage eligible for an annulment in the State of Florida. Divorce lawyers can help you understand how annulments work and determine whether an annulment or a divorce is the appropriate option for your situation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What Are The Legal Grounds For Annulment?
An annulment is a court procedure that legally dissolves a marriage. A marriage that is invalid in nature can be annulled — it is also recommended to have a valid marriage annulled. Therefore, any of the following may constitute grounds for annulment.
- The marriage is bigamous
- One of the spouses is unable to consummate the marriage
- A spouse was temporarily or permanently mentally incapable to consent to the marriage (due to illness, mental incapacitation, or other reasons)
- The marriage is incestuous
- The marriage was committed under misrepresentations and/or fraudulent information
- One or both of the spouses are underage and entered into the marriage without parental or guardian consent
- One or both spouses were coerced or under duress at the time of the marriage
How To Get An Annulment In Florida
Florida family courts presume marriages to be legally valid. To obtain an annulment, Florida courts require proof and evidence to demonstrate that the marriage is invalid. A family law attorney can assist you throughout the entire annulment process. Once the required paperwork is submitted, a petition will be filed with the court requesting the annulment. The court will then issue a notice of annulment to the other spouse. The burden of proof rests upon the spouse or spouses filing for the annulment.
An annulment petition must detail why the marriage should be dissolved. In the event that the opposite spouse (the defendant) denies the claims made in the petition, they hold the right to file and serve a counterclaim, to which both parties are required to present their cases to a family court. During a hearing, spouses will have the opportunity to present evidence to a family court. A judge will make the final decision, either approving the annulment, denying the annulment, or granting a divorce.
What Are Disadvantages To An Annulment?
Disadvantages to obtaining an annulment include the following.
- Annulments can be time-consuming and costly
- Satisfying the requirements to prove an annulment should be granted is more difficult than filing for divorce
What Are Advantages To An Annulment?
Advantages to dissolving a marriage with an annulment include the following.
- Both parties are “freed” from each other
- The marriage is deleted from records as if it never existed
How Can A Divorce Attorney Help My Annulment Case?
For a strategic approach toward obtaining an annulment, a Gainesville attorney can help you with the following. Individuals seeking an annulment are more likely to have their marriage annulled with the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
- Perform an investigation
- Obtain expert support and advice
- Convince witnesses to provide testimonial support on the stand
- Present information and documentation to the court in a clear and concise manner
- Advocate on your behalf