Marital Annulment in Louisiana
Divorce Papers » Marital Annulment in Louisiana
Annulment in Louisiana is much like divorce with the process and the time taken being the same. The only difference between an annulment and a divorce is that a divorce process ends a valid marriage while an annulment process is just a declaration of the fact that a valid marriage never happened between the couple and whatever happened was null and void from the beginning.
The burden to prove the grounds is much more when it comes to annulment process. The petitioner needs to cite the grounds on which he / she desires the annulment and these grounds need to be proved. The court verifies whether the cited grounds really exist and whether the matters are really as they are shown to be.
Grounds for Annulment in Louisiana:
The grounds for annulment in Louisiana are limited and annulment itself is a rare occurrence due to these limited grounds. These grounds are specified by the statute and at least one of the grounds should exist in order to get an annulment. These grounds are as follows:
Misrepresentation - If a person is lured into a marriage under the false pretenses and fraudulent circumstances, such a marriage is considered to conducted by fraud or misrepresentation. The fraud or misrepresentation comprises of hiding one's true identity, posing as another person for the sake of marriage, previous sex-change operation, true sexual orientation, any sexually transmitted disease, sterility, sadomasochism, fetishism or any other condition which is vital for the normal functioning of a marital relationship.
The aggrieved spouse can file for annulment after the discovery of the fraud or misrepresentation and can get an annulment on these grounds. However, the petitioner must not be aware of these conditions before marrying. If it is found out that the petitioner was well aware of these things, the annulment cannot be granted and the court advises the couple to seek divorce instead.
Inability to Consummate the Marriage - Inability to consummate the marriage means the inability of the male to perform the sexual act which keeps the female dissatisfied. The basis of every marriage is a physical relationship that leads to progeny. To procreate is the function of a marriage and an inability to consummate seriously undermines this element, which is a crucial point of getting married.
The husband has to undergo a medical test which confirms whether there is a physical disability that leads to the sexual inability. These test results can act as a proof for the allegations made by the wife. However, it is difficult to prove these grounds. Besides, if the wife was aware of this inability of the husband before the marriage, she cannot file for an annulment. In such cases, the wife has to file for a divorce instead.
- Same-sex Marriage - The marriages between the gay and lesbian couples are prohibited by the state law of Louisiana. Such marriages are void ab initio and have to be annulled. These marriages cannot be validated and have to be annulled. As they are void right from the beginning, there is no need to hold a trial or hearing. The declaration of nullity is just a formality which is made legal by issuing a court decree.
For getting this declaration from the court, the petitioner has to provide the certificate and the license of the marriage, photographs taken if any and any other documentation which proves that a marriage had indeed taken place.
Bigamy - Any type of bigamous marriage such as polygyny, polyandry or polygamy is prohibited by the state law of Louisiana. Such marriage is void ab initio and has to be annulled. The simple explanation of a bigamous marriage is that a person who marries someone despite of being married to someone else and that the previous marriage has not been dissolved either by divorce or by death.
The proof of the previous marriage such as the license or the certificate along with the photographs and the testimony of the previous spouse can act as substantial proof for proving the bigamous nature of the marriage.
Substance Abuse - If a partner is addicted to substances such as drugs, alcohol or medications, the other partner can file for an annulment on the grounds of habitual substance abuse. An addicted person cannot handle the household responsibilities and look after the family and the children. Besides, substance abuse can also result in physical abuse that is dangerous for the children and the well-being of the partner.
Providing a proof of the substance abuse and lack of cooperation from the abusive spouse can make the court consider the option of granting the annulment instead of divorce. However, this condition must have arisen after marriage, not before.
Incest - Marriages between people related by the same blood line having the same ancestors is considered as incest. A more sophisticated term for such a marriage is consanguinity. The marriages with consanguinity are prohibited by the state law of Louisiana and have to be annulled even if the partners have entered with a good faith.
The marriages between the mother - son, father - daughter, grandfather - granddaughter, grandmother - grandson, cousins,
- brother - sister, aunt - nephew, uncle - niece and any other ancestor - descendant relationship is considered as an incestuous marriage and has to be annulled.
For all these grounds, it is most important to have proofs that clearly prove that the grounds indeed exist and are not a figment of the imagination of the petitioner just to get out of the marriage. It is a difficult task and most of the times, the courts end up advising the petitioner to seek a divorce instead of an annulment in Louisiana.