Los Angeles Annulment Lawyers

Annulment vs Divorce

Are you considering filling for a divorce, but are hoping to avoid what you know will probably be a stressful and time-consuming procedure? If so, then you should get in touch with an experienced Los Angeles annulment attorney to find out if you may be able to simply obtain an annulment. Having your marriage annulled basically means that the marriage never happened in the eyes of the law. This process is a great deal quicker than a regular divorce.  Nevertheless, this option is not available to all married couples. In order to be eligible for an annulment, your marriage has to meet certain requirements.

What is an Annulment?

According to the law, annulment is a legal procedure in which spouses make a petition to the court to have their union declared null and void. As an annulment comes to a conclusion, it will be as though the marriage and legal union never took place at all. 

Once a marriage is annulled, the erstwhile spouses will no longer be:

  1. Forbidden from marrying another person
  2. Subject matrimonial property laws, or
  3. Eligible to enjoy the benefits of marriage (e.g., tax, healthcare).

The process of obtaining an annulment can be complex. Reach out to an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney for assistance navigating the legal details that are required to get your marriage annulled.

What is Required for an Annulment?

Annulment is not an option for every married couple. In actuality, a marriage can only be annulled under an extremely limited number of circumstances. For you to obtain an annulment, your marriage needs to be classified as void or voidable.

Void Marriages

There are those marriage unions that are considered to be void and invalid from the very start. In truth, such marriages should never have been allowed to take place in the first place.

  1. Bigamy –  In the state of California, it is against the law to have more than one spouse. If you or your current spouse was legally married to someone else at the time of your nuptials, then your marriage is already legally void. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Your marriage cannot be classified as void if your spouse (or your partner’s original spouse) is still alive, but was believed to be deceased in general. For the purpose of obtaining an annulment, you have to be able to bring forth proof of the other marriage.
  2. Incest – Certain family members are prohibited from getting married to each other in the state of California. These family connections that cannot legally marry include parents and children, siblings (including half-siblings) and aunts or uncles and nieces and nephews. Moreover, the legislation in California on this issue states that marriages are void for spouses who are ancestors and descendants of every degree. In other words, if you and your spouse are related by blood in any way, then your marriage is considered to have been void from day one.
  3. Invalid Paperwork –  In order to get married in the state of California, the engaged couple is legally required to complete some particular documents to obtain a marriage license. Neglecting to strictly adhere to state procedures can end up in a marriage that is considered to be void.

Voidable Marriages

There are some other marriages that, while not particularly void from the beginning, can be declared to be void due to extenuating circumstances.

  1. Fraud – In the event that a marriage union is entered into by way of fraudulent pretenses, a spouse can enter a petition to have such a union annulled. That said, if, even after find out that the marriage is actually fraudulent, you carry on living with your spouse as if you are truly married, then the marriage cannot be voided.
  2. Mental Incapacity – If you or your spouse can claim a mental incapacity, and lack the capability to understand the purpose and requirements of marriage, then a court can void your union.
  3. Sexual Dysfunction –  Spouses are supposed to enjoy the right to consummate their marriage. If a spouse suffers from some kind of irreversible physical inability to have sex, then that  marriage can be voided by a court.
  4. Underage Marriage –  In the state of California, spouses have to be at least 18 years old or have legal consent to marry. A marriage union can be voided if a spouse, before their 18th birthday, lodges a petition for nullity with the court. That said, continuing to reside with your spouse after you reach the age of 18 can render your marriage permanent and not voidable.
  5. Force or Duress –  If a marriage to someone is obtained by force or threats, a spouse can request that such a union be voided. A spouse looking for an annulment needs to be able to provide evidence of the coercion.

How Can I Obtain an Annulment in Los Angeles?

In order to obtain an annulment, you must first be capable of proving, with whatever physical that your marriage is void or voidable. From the time that you have established that your marriage is eligible for an annulment, you need to file a petition for nullity with the state.

Is There a Residency Requirement?

Unlike a petition for divorce, there are no stringent requirements that you put your petition for nullity in the county where you live. In fact, there is no residency requirement for filing a petition for nullity, at all. You need simply to reside in the state of California to file in California.

Filing a Petition for Nullity of Marriage

The form you will require to file to request an annulment is actually the same form that people file when they need to request a divorce or separation: Form FL-100. Upon completion of this form, you will be obligated to give the following information:

  • Your name and your spouse’s name
  • Date and location of your marriage day
  • An children affected by the legal proceeding, and
  • Your rounds for requesting an annulment.

On top of needing to complete Form FL-100, you will also be obligated to complete a summons (FL-110) and declaration (MC-030). On these latter forms, you must furnish information, evidence, and proof to support your application for an annulment. In order to make certain that your declaration properly addresses all the relevant legal issues, it is a wise decision to enlist an experienced family law attorney to help you. Neglecting to finish the petition, summons, and declaration properly could hold you back from securing your annulment.

Serving the Paperwork On Your Spouse

You will have to file copies of your petition, summons, and declaration with the court and after that, also serve your spouse. Your spouse is also supposed to receive a blank copy of Form FL-120 (so they can  response) as well as any relevant child custody documents.

You are not allowed to serve your spouse yourself.  Instead, a friend, family member, process server or law enforcement officer must present the legal documents to your spouse on your behalf. As long as your spouse agrees, you also have the option of dispatching the documents through the mail.

Return Your Proof of Service

The court will not be able to consider your petition for annulment until it your return to them the proof that your spouse has been served with a copy of all the necessary paperwork. The individual who served the documents is required to complete and sign Form FL-115 (the proof of service form) and be capable of articulate how service was carried out.

Court Hearing: The Final Stage

As soon as the court has received notice of service, you will be able to set a date for your annulment hearing. At this hearing, you (and your soon-to-be former spouse) needs to present your argument to a judge. The spouse who is asking for the annulment carries the burden of proof. What this means is that you need to be able to prove to a judge that your marriage should be annulled. Your spouse has their right to bring forth any arguments or evidence to rebut your claims. In the end, if the judge believes that your marriage is indeed void or voidable, then he or she will authorize the annulment.