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Marriage Annulment Attorneys

A divorce ends a marriage. An annulment means the marriage never really existed. Annulment is rarely granted, but is appropriate for certain situations. In most cases, to obtain an annulment, you must prove that the marriage was not legal in the first place.

The results of an annulment are different from the results of a divorce. Because an annulments means that you were never really married, the IRS may require you to re-file your taxes, if you have already filed jointly. Annulments usually do not result in spousal support, but can include custody and child support orders. Division of property will not fall under community property rights normally involved in a divorce, but contributions can be recovered.

Possibly the biggest difference between divorce and annulment is the religious impact. Certain religions, such as the Roman Catholic religion, do not allow remarriage. Legally, a person who has gotten a divorce is free to remarry, if they choose to do so. However, those who face excommunication, or lack of recognition of their marriage by their church, may never move on with their lives, feeling bound to their first marriage forever. For many people the religious aspects are far more important than the legal aspects.

Qualifications for annulment include:

  • Fraud
  • Forced marriage
  • One party was currently married to someone else (bigamy)
  • One party was underage and did not get legal consent from a parent or guardian
  • One party was mentally incompetent to enter into marriage
  • Parties are too closely related (incest)
  • Inability to consummate the marriage

Fraud can come in many forms. Common acts of fraud which constitute eligibility for annulment include misrepresentation or concealment of the following:

  • Unwillingness to consummate the marriage and reside together following the marriage
  • Physical inability (due to sexual dysfunction) or unwillingness to engage in sexual intercourse following the marriage
  • Known inability (sterility) or unwillingness to conceive children following the marriage
  • Pregnancy by another man at the time of marriage
  • Non-existent pregnancy when pregnancy was the motivating factor for marriage
  • Homosexuality
  • Disease
  • Mental illness or prior institutionalization in a mental hospital
  • Alcohol, drug, or gambling addiction
  • A criminal history
  • Unwillingness to become a U.S. citizen
  • Unwillingness to reimburse the other party for “alimony” (spousal support) lost due to this marriage
  • Unwillingness to have a religious marriage ceremony performed after the civil marriage ceremony
  • Current religious conviction
  • Unwillingness to embrace the other parties religion
  • Prior divorce if marrying a Roman Catholic
  • Extreme religious or racial intolerance that is relevant to the marriage
  • Married only to obtain access to money, wealth or property

Annulment is not an appropriate means of dissolving a marriage in most cases. It can be very difficult and very costly to obtain an annulment. However, in some circumstances it is the only proper course of action.

If you are considering annulment or divorce, please contact a matrimonial law attorney today.

 
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