While most Florida marriages that end are dissolved through the legal process of divorce, some marriages may be ended through the process of having them annulled. To annul a marriage, there must be a legally cognizable impediment which makes the marriage either void or voidable. When a marriage is void, it is considered invalid from inception and neither spouse has legal rights or duties flowing from it. When a marriage is voidable, the parties can still ratify it, making it valid, until terminated by a court. If you are married and wonder whether that marriage can be annulled, contact the divorce attorneys at the Family Law Advocates. Your rights and options in an annulment case differ from those in a divorce and understanding those rights is critical to how you might proceed.Annulment vs. Divorce
A divorce case is different from a case regarding the validity of a marriage in that the divorce process is designed to deal with the affairs of spouses who are legally married, and to terminate that legal union. The purposes of an annulment case is to get a legal declaration that the marriage is invalid due to an array of reasons that might have existed at the time of marriage. Those reasons might include:
- Duress or fraud;
- One party is still married to someone else;
- Mental incompetency or physical incapacity;
- Lack of consent or an undissolved prior marriage;
- Incestuous relationship;
- One spouse was underage
In some cases, a marriage is voidable, perhaps when fraud occurred. Other marriages are patently void, such as in cases of incest or when one party was still married. Your unique circumstances will determine whether your marriage can be ended through annulment or through the traditional divorce process. Ultimately, the legal decision annulling a marriage may be left up to a judge. As such, evidence supporting your grounds for annulment may be needed. That’s where a family law attorney’s knowledge and experience come in.
As with divorce, depending on the circumstances, each party to the invalid marriage may have certain rights related to division of joint property, support, and custody of any children. A party who has been the victim of fraud or duress, or the deceit of the other will have more rights designed to make them as whole as possible, given the circumstances. In some cases, the aggrieved spouse might even be awarded alimony. Each case is unique.
A petition for annulment of a voidable marriage can be challenged based on one spouse knowing of the conditions making the marriage voidable, yet ratifying the marriage through continued cohabitation or other conduct. While a void marriage cannot be ratified, responding to a petition is still important, as your legal rights can still be impacted. If you are considering annulment or have been served with a petition regarding the validity of your marriage, contact the Family Law Advocates, today.Hire the Right Annulment and Divorce Firm
You always have choices when searching for a Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Clearwater area family law attorney. As skilled and experienced negotiators and litigators, our legal team is ready to help you with all aspects of ending your marriage, whether through divorce or annulment. Give us a call today or send us a website inquiry to schedule your initial consultation.