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What Is Getting An Annulment?

You may have heard of someone seeking an annulment shortly after getting married. But how is this different from getting a divorce? A dissolution of marriage and an annulment are two very different legal actions. A divorce recognizes that there was a legal marriage and now one or both parties are seeking to dissolve that marriage. However, at the root of an annulment is claiming the marriage was never legally recognized. Therefore, it did not exist. You may have heard of the term "null and void." In other words, the marriage is void.

Why would anyone want to seek an annulment over a divorce? One major reason is the person seeking the annulment does not want to legally acknowledge the marital union. If the annulment is granted by the family law court, then he or she can claim they were never married. Obviously, with a divorce you cannot do the same.

There are certain scenarios in which a person can seek an annulment in California. But all of the following reasons are due to the fact that the situation deems the marriage invalid. Only invalid marriages can get annulled.

Under California law, an annulment can be sought for the following reasons:

  • At least one of the parties was forced to get married, was physically incapacitated at the time of the marriage or of unsound mind.
  • At least one of the parties asserts fraud to a vital point of the marriage.
  • At least one of the parties was underage (18 or younger).
  • At least one of the parties was already legally married.
  • The union is incestuous or bigamous.

If you are able to prove any of the above to a judge, then the judge could deem the marriage invalid and then approve the annulment. Keep in mind it does not matter how long the marriage is as any of the situations could be discovered early on or years later.

Seek the help of an experienced California family law attorney for more information about how you can seek an annulment in California.

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