How to Get Marriage Annulled in CA
Annulment is significantly rarer than divorce. Whereas divorce ends a marriage, an annulment will make it as if the marriage never took place. Legally, the parties will revert to “single,” as opposed to divorced. There are specific requirements to obtain an annulment. Below, we discuss the grounds for obtaining an annulment and the procedure for doing so. Call a seasoned Claremont annulment attorney to obtain an annulment in Southern California or for help with another California family law matter.
Grounds for Annulling a Marriage
Not every marriage can be annulled. The typical procedure for ending a marriage is dissolving the marriage through divorce. Annulment is reserved for situations under which the marriage should never have been legally permitted in the first place. In California, the grounds for seeking annulment of a marriage are as follows:
- Bigamy. One party was already married when entering into the second marriage.
- Incest. The parties are too closely related by blood.
- Minor. One party was under age 18 at the time the marriage was entered.
- Fraud. One party was fraudulently induced to enter the marriage by the other party. The fraud must go to the essence or heart of the marriage, such as if one party only married in order to get a green card.
- Unsound mind. One party was not of sound mind at the time the marriage was entered due to, for example, mental infirmity or intoxication.
- Duress or force. One party forced the other to marry against their will.
- Physical incapacity. A party may seek an annulment if their spouse is “physically incapacitated” or otherwise unable to consummate. Typically, this refers to concealed impotence or infertility.
Process for Obtaining an Annulment
The process for obtaining an annulment is similar to obtaining a divorce. The party seeking an annulment must file a petition with the county court. The form is the same as the form seeking a divorce, but the party must check the box for “nullify.” The petition should include relevant background information, including the parties, the length of the marriage, the grounds for annulment, and requested terms.
The petition for annulment must be filed within a certain time limit after the marriage begins (the “statute of limitations”). The limitations period differs depending on the grounds for the annulment. Annulment based on age, incapacity, or force, for example, must be filed within four years of the marriage. Annulments based on bigamy, incest, or unsound mind can be filed at any time.
Once the appropriate forms are filled out and filed, the requesting party must serve their spouse with notice of the requested annulment. The court is then likely to hold a hearing on the annulment, during which the spouse or spouse(s) can expand on the reasons for the annulment. The court must be convinced that an annulment is appropriate, including by utilization of relevant evidence (such as a birth certificate proving one spouse was under 18) where necessary. If the annulment is contested by the other party, the proceeding can become more complex. In either case, we strongly recommend having a qualified family law attorney on your side to present your case for annulment.
Call a dedicated California family law attorney at Blasser Law for help with a divorce, annulment, custody dispute, or another California family law matter. The talented and effective Claremont divorce legal team at Blasser Law is ready to assist clients with any family law concerns in the San Gabriel Valley or Los Angeles County. Contact our family law office at 877-927-2181.