Not all marriages in California legally end because of a divorce. There is another manner in which a marriage can be legally dissolved, and it’s known as annulment. Annulment can be a complicated process and a result that’s difficult to obtain, but there are advantages to an annulment if obtaining one is appropriate. Anyone who finds themselves in this position should seek the immediate help of experienced San Diego family law attorneys. Below is a brief introduction to this process.
The Definition of Annulment in California
While divorce and annulment in California achieve the same result, namely the legal end of a marriage, there is an important difference between the two processes. A divorce involves the legal dissolution of a marriage, but in so doing the parties acknowledge that a marriage did take place. However, an annulment is basically a legal statement that a legal marriage was never in place and a declaration that the parties are not legally married.
Grounds for Annulment
Annulment can only be granted on certain grounds, which is another distinction with divorce, where no grounds need to be established in order for a marriage to be legally dissolved.
Specifically, annulment can be granted for the following reasons:
- Duress – If one of the parties only agreed to a marriage in response to threats or some form of coercion, then the marriage can be annulled given the lack of proper consent.
- Mental illness – If someone is ruled to be mentally incompetent, then that person cannot legally consent to a valid marriage in California.
- Impotence – If a party can prove that the other party is unable to consummate a marriage, then that marriage can be annulled.
- Bigamy – If one of the parties to the marriage was already married to someone else, then he or she cannot legally marry anyone else in California.
- Consanguinity – If two people who were married are closely related, such as a parent and a child, two siblings and other direct blood relations, they cannot legally be married in California.
Advantages of an Annulment
There are advantages to an annulment for the parties involved in such a process if an annulment is attained. The most commonly asserted advantage concerns religious beliefs. Many faiths frown upon divorce, but annulments are not generally considered problematic for most large religions. In addition, if a marriage was never legal, then it helps the parties avoid many of the issues generally associated with a divorce that include support, property division and other issues.
How To Proceed
If you find yourself in this sort of position, you need to act as soon as possible to begin working towards this result. Contact the San Diego family law attorneys at the law offices of James D. Scott today to schedule an initial consultation.
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