Personal Injury Cases: Moving on to Better Things

5 Things To Know About Getting A Marriage Annulment

Divorce isn't the only way to dissolve a marriage. In some cases, an annulment, which voids out a marriage as though it didn't occur, is the better option. 

1. Annulment Reasons Vary By State

One must qualify for an annulment, and there are only a few allowable reasons which vary depending on where you live. Common annulment reasons include but are not necessarily limited to the following: an underage person, bigamy, abuse, failure to consummate, fraud and misrepresentation, or mental incompetence. Generally, only the married parties can seek an annulment except in the case of an underage person where a parent or legal guardian may be able to initiate proceedings. 

2. Custody Arrangements Are Still Available

It's a common misconception that annulment isn't an option if there are children involved. The good news is that a judge can still make custody and child support rulings in the case of annulment in many states. Although an annulment voids the marriage, it doesn't void responsibility for either parent. Fathers will not automatically lose custody just because a marriage is annulled. 

3. Spousal Support Isn't Guaranteed 

Unlike a divorce where one can also sue for spousal support or alimony, this often isn't the case with an annulment. Since the marriage is technically voided as though it didn't occur, any financial responsibilities for the former spouse are also annulled at this time. If alimony is needed by either spouse, then an annulment is not the course of action to take. Seek a divorce instead. 

4. Property and Debt Division Will Occur

Annulments won't mitigate the shared responsibilities that were undertaken during the relationship. The marriage may be void, but debts, finances, and property ownership are not. The judge will divide property, financial assets, and debts between the two parties. If you and your former partner are in agreement, you can submit your own property division paperwork to the court for approval. Just keep in mind that the judge can make adjustments to the agreement if they see a reason to do so.

5. Burden of Proof Is Necessary

In some ways, an annulment is similar to an at-fault divorce because you will have to show proof that the relationship qualifies to be annulled. The type of required proof depends on the reason for the annulment. For example, a birth certificate would be necessary for an annulment sought on grounds that one party in the marriage was underage at the time of marriage. 

Contact a divorce lawyer or family attorney if you need more assistance.