Annulment Laws

Divorce Papers » Annulment Laws

Annulment is a legal process stating that the marriage was never valid and thus, it is to be considered null and void. It wipes the marriage off the records as if it never happened. Annulment laws differ from state to sate. Each state has specific directives when it comes to annulment. It is a rare occurrence owing to the difficulties in proving the cited grounds.

Annulment is different from divorce and legal separation. In both these suits, the marriage is considered to be valid and in annulment, it is implied that a marriage was never valid. Every state recognizes the provision of annulment.

Laws of Annulment:

The laws of annulment pertain to the grounds to be cited along with the other issues such as time-limit to file for an annulment, cohabitation, ratification of an invalid marriage, legitimacy of the children and the division of property and responsibilities.

The statutes for annulment in states are rigid and hence the granting of annulments is not a common occurrence across the states of the the US. It is a wise move to hire an attorney if one wants to get an annulment rather than doing it yourself.

Grounds for Annulment:

The annulment is usually based on mental illness or disorder, temporary or permanent insanity, forced consent, fraudulent behavior, underage marriage, refusal or inability to consummate, bigamous marriage, etc.

These grounds are some general grounds. One must refer to the respective states' statutes so as to get a clear idea as to what are the grounds for annulment and what are the other intricacies involved. The grant of annulment is regulated by the state law and the case or trial is carried out in the family court.

Other Laws of Annulment:

The time-limit for applying for an annulment differs from state to state. The children are considered legitimate and provisions are made for them to lead normal lives even after the annulment is granted.

These are some of the important issues which are addressed by all the statutes when it comes to annulment. Let us have a detailed look at these issues:

  • Reasons, Requirements or Grounds for Annulment - The grounds for annulment differ from state to state and are quite rigid. It is very difficult to prove them. Owing to this difficulty, the court encourages the couple to go for a divorce or legal separation. The courts are extremely reluctant to grant annulment to the couple, whatever grounds they cite. These grounds are various ranging from the ones threatening the well-being of marriage to the ones which threaten the well-being of the wronged spouse and the children of marriage, if any.

    These reasons need to be proved in front of the court with the help of witnesses, documents and exhibits. Yet, one cannot predict whether annulment will be granted or not. It depends totally upon the judge hearing the case.

  • Duration of Marriage - The time-limit or the duration of marriage does not matter in most of the states. Some statutes specify the time-limit for specific grounds and if the court is not approached in the given time-limit, the couple has to stay married or get a divorce.

    In other states, one can file for an annulment right from 20 days to 20 years of marriage. In case of long-term marriages, the annulment laws change slightly by addressing the marital issues and childcare. The popular misconception regarding the annulment is that it is easy to get if they apply shortly after marriage.

    However, if the petition is filed shortly after marriage, there are no legal hassles regarding the division of property or responsibilities assuming that the couple has not acquired the joint assets in such a short time period.

  • Cohabitation - If the couple indulges in sexual relations even after they file for an annulment, it can be a major impediment the granting of annulment. Invalid marriage can be ratified by consummating it. If the court finds out that the couple has been engaging in sexual relationship even after learning the condition that led them to file for annulment, the court assumes that the issue has been solved out of the court and the dismisses the plea for annulment.

    The couple must stay apart and not as a husband and a wife after filing for the annulment petition. Cohabitation must be avoided in order to get an annulment. Also, they are not supposed to socialize as a couple. All activities such as attending parties, barbecues or school meetings should be totally avoided during this period.

  • Assets and Responsibilities - Usually, the assets and responsibilities of the husband and the wife remain with each other after the annulment is granted. The couple returns to their pre-marital status and the individual property remains undivided.

    Also, there are no inheritance rights, tax exemptions, insurance coverage benefits on the partner's coverage which were an obvious part of staying married. If the children are involved, both the parents are equally responsible for the childcare and the education and medical care that comes with having a child. No spousal support or alimony can be demanded.

    This provision is to ensure that the children receive the standard of life as well as all the basic necessities of their life which is their right. However, the couple has to make an agreement regarding all these issues.

  • Legitimacy of Children - The children born or adopted during the marriage are legitimate and both the parents share the responsibilities and duties as the parents though they no longer are the husband and wife.

    Besides, the child provision issues are addressed by the parents along with the court which helps them continue their education and other activities necessary for one's growth.

Thus, annulment laws are pretty strict and differ from state to state. It is wise to hire a lawyer rather than figure everything yourself.

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