When people are married, they are hopeful it will last forever. However, that is not always the case. While most people get divorced, some will qualify for an annulment which is a bit different. Below is an overview of annulments, who qualifies and where you go to file yours. If you are unsure if you qualify or don’t know how to go about an annulment, it may benefit you to speak with a lawyer specializing in family law for advice.
What Is An Annulment?
Annulments are similar to divorces in one way, they both dissolve a marriage. However, an annulment not only dissolves a marriage, but erases it completely. Once an annulment is granted, it is though it never existed in the first place.
Who Qualifies For An Annulment?
Not everyone who wants to end their marriage will qualify for a civil annulment. In fact, most marriages will not qualify for this type of dissolution. The following instances are reasons an annulment would be granted:
If one party conceals important information from the other, they may be able to obtain an annulment instead of a divorce. Some instances that may qualify would be drug abuse, having a sexually transmitted disease, being impotent or having a felony criminal history.
Fraud is one of the biggest reasons annulments are granted in the United States today. Some examples of fraud would be one party misrepresenting their age or marrying just to obtain U.S. citizenship.
If one spouse was married and never obtained a divorce, then married another person it would be grounds for an annulment. Bigamy is illegal in the United States and one reason a civil annulment would most likely be granted.
Where Do I File For An Annulment?
In most instances, you file for an annulment in the county in which you live and not where you were married. Most states have residency requirements for filing, so it is important to check with your local courthouse before you file. Filing for an annulment if you have not lived in the county long enough may result in your case being thrown out of court.
When Can An Annulment Be Filed?
Annulments are typically filed shortly after a marriage, but that may not always be the case. In instances of fraud, the time limit would begin from the date fraud or deception was discovered, not from the beginning of the marriage. It may be to consult an attorney for advice because family law can be complex.
Contact an experienced family law attorney if you are unsure how to file for an annulment or are unsure if your marriage qualifies. During a consultation, your attorney will examine your case and let you know the way to move forward. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can take the confusion and anxiety out of an already stressful time. Once your annulment is granted, you can look forward to the future and moving on with your life.