Annulment As An Alternative To Divorce
Marriage annulment is a fairly misunderstood concept owing to the inaccurate projection of its legality by the popular religion and culture. Both annulment and divorce can be considered somewhat similar in their basic underlying principle of determining the status of wedlock. However, the major distinguishing factor that separates an annulment from a divorce is the implication of the marital status post a verdict in the court of law in the two cases.
What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?
A divorce or a legal separation marks the end of a valid relationship and implies that the couple is no longer viewed by the court as man and wife. On the other hand, an annulment, colloquially termed as nullity of domestic partnership or marriage, is when the court declares the domestic partnership or marriage never really existed in the first place. Post a verdict of annulment, it is assumed that the marriage never really happened as it was not valid or legal to begin with.
What are the grounds for filing for an annulment?
- A marriage is never considered valid by the Californian state law, if the two parties involved are related by blood.
- Another situation wherein a marriage stands illegal or invalid is when one of the partners is already in an existing registered wedlock with someone else. The marriage is then termed as bigamous.
- A person who was below the acceptable age of 18 years at the time of his/her marriage can also file for an annulment of the same.
- Another situation which is somewhat similar to bigamy can be distinguished on the basis of the fact that a spouse, who was already married to someone else, gets into another wedlock on the premise that the former partner has been absent and assumed dead for the past five years.
- If either of the partners has an unsound mind that prohibits them from understanding the true implication and obligations of a marriage, their spouse can request an annulment.
- An annulment can also be requested in a situation where a marriage was a result of fraud. For example, if an individual deceives his partner into wedlock only for obtaining a green card, the marriage will be considered fraudulent and invalid.
- In cases where a partner was forcefully made to consent for a marriage, an individual can file a petition for an annulment.
- Finally, if one of the partners was physically incapacitated at the time of marriage which rendered him/her unable to consummate the relationship, and the incapacity continues to stay incurable, the healthy partner has the right to file for annulment.
In order to obtain an annulment, it is mandatory for an individual to be able to prove at least one of the aforementioned reasons, with authentic evidential proof in the court of law.
To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.