Grounds for Annulment
An annulment is a process which legally declares that a marriage was not valid and, therefore, never in existence. An annulment is different from a divorce in that a divorce recognizes that the marriage was in existence but failed. In order to get an annulment in Florida, there must be very specific grounds and also certain procedures must be followed. Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice divorce attorneys like Matthew Z. Martell, Esq. can provide you with good legal advice on getting an annulment.
When can a marriage be annulled in Florida?
Florida statutory law does not expressly address annulment and its requirements. However, Florida court decisions have addressed this issue in case law and provide guidance on how to receive an annulment. The general grounds for annulment in Florida include:
- A marriage is void because a spouse is married to more than 1 person (a/k/a bigamy)
- The marriage is void because it is incestuous (meaning the spouses are related by blood or marriage)
- The person(s) are minor and under the legal age to marry
- One of the persons lacks the mental capacity to legally marry
- The marriage was not entered into voluntarily (i.e.- threats and/or coercion)
- A party to the marriage was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and not able to consent to the marriage
- Serious fraud was used to bring one of the parties into the marriage
- The marriage was entered into under duress
- An underage spouse did not have necessary parental consent to the marriage
How do you get an annulment?
If there are good legal grounds for an annulment, then you must follow the correct procedure to have the annulment ordered by a court. To commence the process, you must file a petition for annulment with the court. The petition must set forth the legal grounds for the annulment and a basic statement of the facts. The other party in the marriage must be served, given notice, and also given an opportunity to contest the requested annulment.
After the petition for annulment is filed and the other party served, a court will eventually decide whether to grant the requested annulment. A judge must determine that there are sufficient legal grounds for the annulment and that there are no facts to cause the court to determine that the marriage was ratified or otherwise valid. If the court finds that the annulment is appropriate, then the court will enter a judgment to that effect.
What happens when an annulment is ordered?
If the court orders an annulment, then the marriage is declared as void. If the parties have children in common, then a court is still allowed to determine child custody, child visitation, and child support issues. When the annulment is ordered, the marriage of the parties is no longer deemed to be in existence and each party will be deemed as a single individual.
How can an attorney help with an annulment?
Because the circumstances that can justify an annulment are unique, you should consult with a Sarasota divorce attorney to discuss your case and the different legal options available. A highly rated Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida family law attorney such as Attorney Matthew Z. Martell will be able to discuss with you whether you qualify for an annulment or if a divorce is the appropriate remedy.
A Sarasota divorce lawyer can prepare the necessary documents to pursue an annulment or divorce. If the other party contests the petition, then an attorney can help you schedule a divorce mediation to attempt to reach a resolution out of court. A top-rated Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida divorce attorney near you like Matthew Z. Martell will advocate for you to receive the appropriate and necessary legal relief.
If you have questions about a possible annulment, then please contact the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell at (941) 556-7020 to schedule a 30-minute free initial phone consultation. Our experienced legal team will work with you to find the answers to your annulment questions.