This article is by Aaron Wallace, a premier Los Angeles criminal lawyer. Annulment ends marriage the same way as divorce. However, with an annulment, the couple goes back to the state they were in before they got married. With annulments, it is as if the marriage never took place. Marriage should be voidable or void for it to qualify for an annulment. Valid marriages have to go through divorce proceedings. To understand how annulments affect children and their rights as heirs, it is important to review various aspects of annulments.
When Can a Spouse File for an Annulment?
To apply for an annulment, spouses are required to be legally married. The law requires that an annulment be filed 60 days after the marriage. The procedure of an annulment is the same as a divorce. The main considerations made during an annulment hearing is if the marriage was based on fraud, coercion, or if it involved an under aged spouse. The two most basic issues in an annulment are how the annulment will affect the couple’s property and children.
How Do Annulments Affect the Couple’s Children?
If the annulment in question involves children, the court will grant custody to a parent based on the child’s best interests. A court order will be issued to cater for concerns like visitation and child support. In some cases, the court requires a confirmation of the children’s parentage before awarding custody. In some states, there may be limitations on the father’s rights due to the timing of the child’s birth.
Children born before a marriage is annulled are deemed to be legitimate under the law. This has great implications on their citizenship and inheritance rights.
How Does an Annulment affect Property?
Since an annulment returns parties to their original status, if a partner was in possession of a house before their marriage, they will still have the right to own that house following the annulment. One partner has no right to the other partner’s possessions because legally they were not married. After an annulment, neither partner can inherit from the other in the event of death because they are not treated like a spouse according to inheritance laws. In special circumstances, when annulments are filed after a few years of marriage, division of property will be conducted like in divorce cases.
Assets with Beneficiary Designations
Some assets allow one to designate a beneficiary without regarding the relationship that exists between them. Therefore, a child can be a beneficiary of money in a 401k or an IRA account. Children can also inherit the house that your former husband owned or his life insurance policy.
Trusts for Children
If your former husband and your children had a positive relationship, he may establish a trust for them. Like assets that have beneficiary designations, trusts are not affected by probate. Therefore, it is easy to transfer things like collections for baseball cards and coins or any other item established under a trust to your former husband’s children without any legal restrictions.
Children and Wills
Your children may be included in the will of your former husband. However, other family members may challenge the will since it has to pass through probate. For example, other family members or children may claim that you coerced your former husband to make your child part of the will. In some cases, an annulment could affect a child’s ability to inherit the estate of your former husband.
Assets Gifted Before Death
Your former husband may choose to bestow his assets upon your children before his death. This is an advantage to him because it means a low tax burden on his estate. This acts in favor of any other family members who survive him and also improves his legacy. For your children, this means that the assets become theirs as soon as they are gifted. Therefore, these assets cannot be withheld from your children.
A marriage annulment erases the existence of a marriage making it look like it never took place. Therefore, all the legal benefits associated with marriages and that spouses are entitled to after a divorce do not exist. However, the implications of an annulment on children are less severe. Children of an annulled couple have a right to assets with beneficiary designations, trusts, and gifted assets. In some cases, the children of an annulled couple may not be able to be inherit an estate because a will has to go through probate and may be challenged by other family relations of the spouse in question.