Experienced Annulment Attorney in Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, Orange County, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, and Surrounding Areas of California
Law Firm Specializing in Annulment Actions filed in California
An annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage void or voidable. Legally an annulment (also known as ‘nullity of marriage’) is when a court declares a marriage or domestic partnership is not legally valid. The legal impact of an annulment is that the marriage or domestic partnership was never legal, so it is as if it never happened.
Bear in mind that proving that there is a legally valid reason for an annulment is much more difficult than filing for a divorce or legally separating. Annulments are only granted by California courts if certain legal requirements are met. Very few annulments are granted in California compared to divorces.
It is important to understand the laws and procedures of annulment prior to filing a petition in family court. If you think your marriage may not be legally valid and you have questions for a California divorce attorney, legal separation attorney, property division attorney, or domestic partnership attorney; contact us today.
Annulment Laws in California [Annulment Definition] – Family Code 2200 – 2255
In California, there are a number of possible “grounds,” or reasons, that a family court might grant a request to annul a marriage:
- The couple is closely related by blood (incest) (Cal Fam. Code § 2200).
- Bigamy – where one spouse was already legally married before entering into the second marriage (Cal Fam. Code § 2201).
- One or both spouses is of “unsound mind” and lacked the ability to give consent due to this impairment (i.e. mental illness, intoxication or drug impairment) (Cal Fam. Code § 2210(c)).
- Either party consented to getting married or filing a domestic partnership as a result of force (Cal Fam. Code § 2210(e)).
- The person requesting the annulment was not eighteen years old at the time of the marriage (Cal Fam. Code § 2210(a)).
- One of the spouses has an “incurable physical incapacity.” This most common instance of this refers to male impotence that prevents the couple from having sexual relations (Cal Fam. Code § 2210(f)).
- Either spouse perpetrated fraud/deception to obtain the other party’s consent to enter into the marriage. The fraud has to go to the heart, or essence, of the marriage and must have been about something vital to the relationship that directly affected why the party who was deceived agreed to the marriage or domestic partnership. Some examples may include: marrying only to get a green card or hiding the inability to have children (Cal Fam. Code § 2210(d)).
Annulment vs. Divorce – How to Annul a Marriage in California
The party seeking an annulment has the extremely high burden to prove that one or more of the above reasons existed at the time of the marriage, and the union is not legal as a result. While an annulment seeks to bring the validity of a marriage into question, a divorce seeks to end the legal effects of a marriage. Additionally, unlike a divorce, an annulment will have a statute of limitations that is dependent on the grounds for the annulment. For example, an annulment based on the grounds of fraud must be filed by the person who was deceived within 4 years of discovering the fraud. Annulments generally cannot be filed once the statute of limitations has run.
In California, annulment proceedings are brought in the same way divorce actions are brought. One of the parties has to bring a petition for annulment, and by doing so, they are asking that the court declare the marriage void or voidable due to one or more of the reasons listed above. In the event the court grants a petition for annulment, this does not necessarily mean the end of all family law matters between the parties.
If the petitioning party is unable to prove the union is not legal, the case may be dismissed or the petition amended to seek a divorce. For example, “irreconcilable differences” is a completely valid reason to file for divorce, but is not a valid reason to seek an annulment.
Contact Our Experienced Annulment Attorneys Now
No matter what stage of the process you are in, you can rely on the experience of our California annulment attorneys in reaching resolutions in your case. Our lawyers have a thorough understanding of California annulment laws and know how those laws are applied within the court system on a case-by-case basis.
We will provide an honest assessment of the facts and let you know the best approach to take. If there are several options, we will advise you accordingly. Our attorneys have litigated annulment cases throughout the State of California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
Call the experienced family law attorneys at Talkov Law at (844) 4-TALKOV (825568) or contact us online for a free consultation about your case. Learn how our experienced annulment attorney, Colleen Sparks, can guide you through the court process in a prompt and clear manner.
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