You have likely heard of famous couples who have gotten annulments, but what does it really mean? An annulment is not a divorce. A divorce is the legal process used to terminate a valid marriage. An annulment is a declaration that the marriage did not exist legally.
The two types of annulments are a civil annulment, which is granted by a court of law, and a religious annulment, which is granted by a member of the clergy. Even though Florida law does not specifically address annulments, the appellate courts have rendered decisions that are used as precedents for Florida’s annulment laws. Thus, while it is possible to obtain an annulment in our state, it is not easy.
Florida recognized two grounds for annulling a marriage. First, a void marriage that was invalid from the beginning can be annulled. For example, if one of the parties is already married or mentally incapacitated, the marriage is void and can be annulled. All void marriages can be annulled by either party.
Second, voidable marriages can also be annulled. These are marriages that were not necessarily invalid from the beginning, but other circumstances warrant the annulment. For example, if one spouse suffered from a temporary mental problem or was under the influence of drugs at the time of the wedding, the marriage is voidable because he or she lacked the ability to agree to the marriage. If fraud was used to trick a spouse into marriage, it is voidable. There are many other examples of voidable marriages, but it is important to understand that not all voidable marriages can be annulled. This is especially true if the marriage was consummated after the wronged party became aware of the lack of capacity, fraud or duress.
If a couple seeks to annul their marriage and children are involved, the court can make a decision regarding child custody and child support through a parenting plan.
If you are interested in learning more about annulments and/or divorce, let us help. Contactthe Men’s Divorce Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a caring professional, and aggressive advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child timesharing (custody), and paternity matters.