Should I Get an Annulment or a Divorce?

An annulment is a court procedure that will void or "nullify" a marriage. This is much different from divorce, as it instead treats the marriage like it never existed. Many people prefer to have their marriage annulled instead of going through a divorce in order to make it easier to remarry within their church. Others are simply turned off by the negative connotations that surround the term "divorce" and wish to keep their dissolution of marriage under wraps. With that being said, however, an annulment can only be completed under certain circumstances.

When Can I Get an Annulment?

Certain conditions surrounding the formation of your marriage can affect your eligibility for annulment. While the grounds for annulment can vary depending on the state you're in, at least one of the following reasons must be present:

  • Fraud, such as marrying for a green card
  • No consummation of marriage
  • Incest
  • Bigamy
  • Underage spouse
  • Forced marriage

If one or more of these reasons can be met, then a marriage can most often be annulled. If an annulment is successful, the marriage is treated as having never happened. Most of the time, annulments are carried out after a very short marriage, making the distribution of assets relatively simple since there usually aren't many shared properties or children for which to determine custody.

California has certain statutes of limitations for annulments depending on the reasoning behind them, meaning that the right to file for an annulment is lost after a certain amount of time has passed. For instance, if you were to try to annul your marriage since you were married before you turned 18, you would only be able to file for an annulment within four years after your 18th birthday.

If you are considering pursuing an annulment of your marriage, it is crucial that you consult with a Murrieta family law attorney from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich as soon as possible. Our experienced attorneys can discuss the potential effects on your family so you can decide on the best course of action. They can help determine your eligibility and guide you through the subsequent legal processes. If you are found to be ineligible for annulment, our attorneys can also dissolve your marriage through a traditional divorce.

Call (951) 506-6654 to speak with an experienced Murrieta divorce attorney and discuss your circumstances in further detail.


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