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Q – What Type of Annulment can an Attorney assist you with
A – A lawyer can assist you in obtaining an annulment for a marriage at the civil level. A New York lawyer can assist you in obtaining an annulment of the marriage at the civil level. An Annulment results in the court vacating the marriage so legally the marriage never existed. The term annulment also has religious meaning. The annulment process for religious purposes is something that must be done within the framework of the religious institution.
Q – What are the Grounds for obtaining an Annulment under New York Law
A – Unlike a traditional divorce, an Annulment can only be granted under current New York law when one of seven circumstances can be proven to the court. The five circumstances are:
1. One or both of the spouses were under the age of 18 at the time of marriage
2. Mental Incapacity at the time of the marriage
3. The inability to have sexual intercourse
4. Mental illness lasting five years or more that is not temporary in nature
5. Fraud, coercion or duress used to induce marriage .
6. Bigamy is grounds for an Annulment
7. The marriage is incestuous. Like number six legally this marriage is automatically null and void.
Note: Consult with a licensed New York Lawyer to learn more as each of these circumstances involve complex legal issues.
Q – Does continuous Cohabitation impact my legal rights
A – Yes, in the circumstance of a spouse getting married under the age of 18.Cohabitation after reaching the age of 18 may result in this ground for an annulment being waived. Additionally, mental illness is a complicated issue. Many who suffer from mental illness have periods of full mental capacity. Those living with a spouse during times of full mental capacity will be unable to seek an annulment. Fraud is another grounds for annulment that may be waived if continuous cohabitation takes place. A common example is the promise to have children if marriage takes place. A spouse who refuses to have children after marriage in this circumstance would be legally committing fraud. However, if his/her spouse knows of the refusal and continues to cohabitate the ability to seek an annulment may be waived.
Q – What is the Court process to get an Annulment
A – Unlike a divorce an Annulment requires that a hearing and a trial take place. The person seeking the annulment has the burden of calling witnesses to prove that one of the five circumstances listed above is present. Remember that only the innocent party can file for an Annulment. The Annulment can be contested by the other spouse and in that event witnesses called will be cross examined.
Q – What is the impact on Child Custody and Support
A – There is no impact on Child Support or Custody for children by an Annulment.
Q – Does filing for Annulment impact the ability to file for divorce
A – You can still file for divorce if you file for an annulment and lose or if you contest the annulment and win.
Q – How long to I have to live in New York before I can file for an Annulment
A – You must have established residency in New York for at least one year prior to filing for an Annulment.
Q – Do I really need an Attorney for an Annulment
A – A Null and Void marriage (circumstances) 6 and 7 listed above can be obtained by showing the proper documents. Although an attorney is not required it is strongly suggested that an attorney be consulted due to the importance of the legal issues involved. Circumstances 1-5 above do require a skilled attorney with the appropriate family law background. Representing yourself in any serious legal matter is simply unwise.