Annulling a Marriage in Florida
While many people believe that divorce is the only way to dissolve a marriage, the reality is that in certain situations a relationship can be legally dissolved through the process of annulment. However, an annulment can only be declared when a marriage in question never actually legally existed, while valid existing marriages must be dissolved through divorce. Annulling a marriage can help the parties involved avoid going through the process of obtaining a divorce, which can be time-consuming and costly, so if you believe that you are eligible for an annulment, please contact a family law attorney who can evaluate your case.
Before a court will annul a marriage, the parties must be able to establish that their marriage is void, which means that it was invalid from the beginning. Voidable marriages, on the other hand, are not necessarily invalid and so cannot always be annulled, requiring the parties to go through the formal divorce process. A marriage could be declared legally void for a number of different reasons, including because:
- The union is bigamous or incestuous;
- Both parties are underage; or
- One of the individuals is mentally incapacitated.
These types of marriages are unlawful and so are considered by the courts to have never existed. As a result, parties in these types of situations can obtain an annulment.
Voidable marriages can also be annulled if certain circumstances exist. A marriage is voidable and can be annulled, for instance, when one of the parties was suffering from a temporary mental issue or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage. Similarly, marriages based on fraud or misrepresentation are also considered voidable, although before a court will grant an annulment, the petitioning party will need to establish that the fraud itself applied to the essence of a marriage. Marrying someone while never having the intention to live with that person, for example, could qualify as fraud.
Marriages are also voidable when:
- One spouse only entered into the marriage under duress;
- One spouse is underage and did not receive the consent of a parent or guardian prior to the marriage;
- One of the parties is impotent and the other spouse was not aware of this fact before entering into the marriage; and
- One or both of the spouses got married as a joke.
Even when a marriage is voidable due to fraud it can become valid at a later date if the wronged party became aware of the fraud or lack of capacity and then consummated the marriage. In these cases, the wronged party’s decision to consummate the marriage essentially acts as a waiver to the right to dispute its validity.
Call to Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today
If you believe that your marriage may be invalid, please contact dedicated Florida family law attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to learn more about your legal options. Call today and the first 15 minutes of your consultation will be free.