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Riverside Annulment Attorney

July 21, 2020

Annulment as an Alternative to Divorce

Have you been considering dissolving your marriage, but were hoping not to deal with what you are certain will be a painful and time-consuming divorce proceeding? If it’s been on your mind, then you need to put in a call to a seasoned Riverside annulment attorney to find out if you may meet the qualifications to obtain an annulment. Having your union annulled pretty much signifies that your marriage never took place at all from the perspective of the law. This choice is much more expeditious than a standard divorce.  With that said, the annulment option is not available to all married couples. In order for your marriage to qualify for an annulment, it needs to meet a few requirements.

What is an Annulment?

In keeping with the California family code, annulment is a legal procedure in which spouses file a petition to the court to get their marriage declared null and void. As an annulment comes to a close, it will be as if the legal union never occurred at all. 

The moment the union is annulled, the ex-spouses will cease to be:

  1. Forbidden from entering a marriage with another person
  2. Governed pursuant to matrimonial property laws, or
  3. Allowed to enjoy the perks associated with being married (e.g., tax, healthcare).

Procuring an annulment can be a complex endeavor. Get in touch with an experienced Riverside family law attorney for support in gaining an understanding of the legal details that are necessary to have your marriage annulled.

What are the Requirements of an Annulment?

Annulment is not a route that is accessible by every married couple. In reality, a marriage can only be eligible for annulment under a very limited number of circumstances. So that you could be permitted to have an annulment, your marriage has to be classified as voidable or categorically void.

Marriages that Can be Classified as Void

Some existing marriage unions are considered to have already been void and invalid from day one. The truth is that these marriages should never have been allowed to happen in the first place.

  1. Incestuous Unions -By law, the marriage of certain family members is verboten.  This is known as incest.  In the state of California, the family relations that cannot legally be wedded are:
    1. parents and their children, 
    2. siblings (including half-siblings) and 
    3. aunts or uncles and nieces and nephews. 

Further, the legislation in the state of California on this issue dictates that those marriages are void for spouses who are related by every degree of ancestry and descent. To put it plainly, if you and your spouse are linked by blood relation  in any way, then your marriage is already categorized as being void from the start.

  1. Marriages of Bigamy–  In the Golden State, to marry more than one person is against the law . If you or your current spouse was already lawfully wedded to someone else on your wedding day, then your marriage is already void. There are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, your marriage would not be categorized as void if your spouse (or your partner’s spouse before you) is still in the land of the living, but for some reason was believed to have been dead. For the purpose of obtaining your annulment, you need to be able to come to court with documents to prove the other marriage.
  2. Invalid Documents –  To be legally wedded in the state of California, the engaged couple is obligated by law to fill out some obligatory paperwork to be issued a marriage license. Neglecting to thoroughly adhere to state procedures can, even after years, be found out to be a marriage that is void.

Some Marriages are Voidable

Some other marriages exist that, while not necessarily void from the very start, meet the requirements to be declared to be void due to specific, extenuating circumstances.

  1. By Duress or Force – If a marriage to an individual is accomplished by threat or force, a spouse could ask that such a union is voided. The spouse filing for the annulment has to be able to furnish evidence of the coercion.
  2. Through Fraud – In the event that a union is formed by way of fraudulent pretenses, a spouse can file a petition to have such a marriage annulled. Furthermore, if, even after finding out that the marriage is definitely fraudulent, you go on remaining in residence with your spouse like you are truly married, then the marriage would cease to be voidable.
  3. The Sexual Dysfunction Clause –  Spouses are furnished the right to enjoy the consummation of their union. If one spouse suffers from some form of irreversible physical disability by which they are not able to have sex, then that marriage can be legally voided by a judge.
  4. The Mental Incapacity Clause – If you or your spouse can bring forth evidence that they have a mental incapacity, and lack the capability to truly understand the reasons and obligations of being married, then a court would be able to void your union.
  5. Marriage to an Underaged Person –  In California state, spouses have to be a minimum of 18 years old or have been granted legal consent to marry. A nuptial union may be voided if a spouse, ahead of their 18th birthday, puts a filing in at court for a declaration of nullity. Nevertheless, continuing to remain with your spouse after you pass the age of 18 can render your union permanent and not voidable.

How Can I Be Granted an Annulment in Riverside?

If you wish to be granted an annulment by the court in Riverside, you first need to be capable of demonstrating, with whatever physical evidence you can bring, 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 lodge a filing for nullity with the court.

Does a Residency Requirement Exist for Annulment?

Unlike putting in a petition to dissolve by divorce, there are no stringent obligations that you make your petition for nullity in the county where you reside. In actuality, there is not at all a residency requirement for filing a petition for nullity. You just have to live anywhere within the state of California to file in a California court.

Putting in Your Petition for Nullity of a Marriage

The application you will fill in to file to request your annulment is actually the very form that individuals would file if they need to apply for a divorce or separation: Form FL-100. When you have filled out this form, you will need to furnish the following information:

  • The full names of you and your spouse
  • The date and of your wedding and where it took place
  • Any kids who would be impacted by the legal proceeding, and
  • Your grounds for filing for the annulment.

In addition to filling in Form FL-100, you will also need to do a summons (FL-110) and complete a declaration (MC-030). On these two other applications, you will need to give all the relevant information, evidence, and proof to support your application for the annulment. In order to make certain that your declaration accurately addresses all the relevant legal details, it is a wise choice to bring in a seasoned family law attorney to help you. Neglecting to do the petition, summons, and declaration thoroughly and accurately could stop you from getting your annulment.

Serving the Paperwork On Your Spouse

You will have to file copies of your petition, summons, and declaration in the family court.  After you have accomplished that, you will also need to serve them on your spouse. Among the papers that they are supposed to get, your spouse is also supposed to receive a blank copy of Form FL-120 (for them to respond) as well as any applicable child custody documents.

You are not allowed to serve your spouse first hand.  Instead, a friend, family member, process server or law enforcement officer may present the documents to your spouse in your stead. Provided that your spouse is in agreement, you also have the option of dispatching the documents to them by mail.

Bringing Back the Proof of Service

The court will not be ready to review your filing for annulment until you bring back the proof that your spouse has indeed been served with their copy of all the obligatory documents. The one who served the papers is supposed to fill in and sign Form FL-115 (the proof of service document) and be capable of articulating the details of the service that was carried out.

The Court Hearing: The Final Phase

Once the court gets back notice of service, you will be ready to establish a date for your annulment hearing. At your hearing, you (and your soon-to-be ex-spouse) need to express your argument before the judge. The spouse who is asking for the annulment holds the burden of proof. In plain language, you need to be able to demonstrate to a judge that your marriage really must be annulled. Your spouse has their right to bring forth any of their own arguments or evidence to rebut your statements.  After all is said and done, if the judge agrees that your marriage is truly void or voidable, then he or she will sign off on the annulment.



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