Do I Qualify for an Annulment?
If you wish to end your marriage there are two ways to legally terminate your marriage in Florida; divorce and annulment. If you wish to annul your marriage, you must first meet certain requirements to petition the court for an annulment. Therefore, if you wish to void and terminate your marriage through the process of annulment, contact an experienced Tallahassee Divorce Attorney today to discuss your specific situation and the necessary qualifications.
In order to qualify for an annulment there must be an element of your marriage that deems the marriage to be voidable. Therefore, if your marriage can be voided, it can be annulled. The issue many couples face, however, is falling into the voidable category. To be voidable, a spouse must prove there is a contractual issue, legality claims, or a fundamental issue pertaining to the marriage.
Although it is difficult to view marriage in a contractual light, it is a contractual agreement in some respects and therefore, the same defenses available in a contract may be available to a spouse who entered into a marriage. Some of these contractual claims may be: lack of consent, fraud, duress, infancy. In order to consent to a marriage, you must have the mental capacity to understand and appreciate the action you are taking. Therefore, if a party has a mental disability, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or has any illness of the mind that would deem them incapable of consenting to such an agreement the court may annul the marriage. Further, in order to consent to a marriage, you must be of the age of majority, this defense is typically known as infancy. If you were under the age of consent and did not retain parental permission to enter into a marriage, this will be proper grounds for annulment. Fraudulent inducement is another avenue that your may present to the court as grounds for your annulment. Fraudulent concealment or inducement to enter into a marriage occurs when a spouse conceals certain information or provides false information to encourage you to marry them. One important key to this claim is proving that without this inducement or concealment you would have not proceeded with the marriage. The final contractual claim one may make in terms of an annulment is duress. If you were under duress when entering into the marriage agreement the court may find this to be valid grounds for annulment. However, the duress cannot simply be cold feet and your spouse encouraged you otherwise. Rather, duress may involve force, coercion, or threats to enter the marriage.
If your marriage is found to be illegal, you may also seek an annulment. Illegality can come in many forms. For instance, if your spouse is already married to another individual and then you subsequently enter into a marriage, this is known as bigamy. It is illegal to be married to multiple people at the same time and this presents the court with grounds for annulment. Another illegal marriage is one based upon defrauding the government. For instance, if your marriage occurred in order to obtain immigration status for a spouse or social security benefits, this is illegal and can be prosecuted as well as deem your marriage void. Finally, if a marriage occurs between two individuals of the same bloodline, resulting in incest, the court will find this marriage to qualify for an annulment.
The final way to provide the court with proper grounds for an annulment is to display evidence of a fundamental issue pertaining to the marriage. This can include, a failure to consummate the marriage, or a spouse is impotent and neglected to disclose this information prior to entering into the marriage. Although extremely personal, these two items can provide you with an avenue to qualify for an annulment.
After meeting one of the necessary qualifications you may petition the court for an annulment and provide the necessary evidence to support your claim of a voidable marriage. If the court is satisfied, they will annul the marriage, designating it as void and essentially to never have existed. The process of an annulment can be difficult as there are no clear statutory guidelines for such an action. Therefore, we advise you consult with one of our Tallahassee Divorce Attorneys to assist you in this process. We are experienced in annulments and can guide you through the qualification process and procuring the proper evidence to present to the court to argue your claim.
Speaking to an attorney at our Tallahassee office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.