Annulments are different from divorce, and an experienced attorney can explain how to get an annulment in California. While divorce effectively ends a marriage, an annulment wipes away a marriage and makes it as though the marriage never happened in the first place. As a result, the presumption of paternity over children conceived during the marriage will be eliminated, as well as the right to obtain child support.
It is important to keep in mind that every marriage and family situation is different, and annulments can have serious consequences. A Fresno annulment attorney will be able to explain your legal rights to you and can help you to weigh the pros and cons of obtaining an annulment.
Differences Between Annulments and Divorces
A divorce legally dissolves and ends a valid marriage and allows both spouses the opportunity to remarry. Following the dissolution of a marriage, the law still recognizes that a valid, legal marriage once existed. However, following annulment proceedings, California courts will not recognize the parties as having ever been married before. Moreover, any marriage records are effectively deemed null and void.
A California court may grant an annulment under one of the following circumstances:
- The parties are close blood relatives.
- One of the spouses:
- was underage at the time of the marriage.
- is in a bigamous relationship.
- is not of sound mind.
- entered into the marriage as a result of fraud, coercion, force, or duress.
- has been physically incapacitated and cannot consummate the marriage.
The California Annulment Process
In order to obtain an annulment in California, a spouse must first file a “Request for Annulment” with the court in the appropriate county. Under most circumstances, a spouse has four years to file if the annulment is based upon physical incapacity, age, or force. However, if fraud is involved, the petitioning spouse has four years from the date he or she discovered the fraud. A petition for annulment which is based upon bigamous marriages or unsound mind may be filed at any time.
An annulment petition includes background information about the:
- spouses’ marriage,
- reason(s) for the annulment, and
- proposed terms for the annulment.
In some cases, the court may be able to grant a divorce if the requirements for granting an annulment have not been met.
After filing a Petition for Annulment with the appropriate court, the fling spouse has 30 days from the date of filing to notify the other spouse of the petition and serve him or her. The other spouse then has 30 days from the time of receipt to file an answer or response to the annulment petition. Assuming the annulment is uncontested, a court hearing will be set and the judge will issue an annulment decree. The marriage is not annulled until that decree has been entered.
Contact a Fresno Family Lawyer About How to Get an Annulment
The decision to seek an annulment, as opposed to a traditional divorce, can be a difficult one. An experienced Fresno annulment lawyer can assist you in making your decision. He can also help you to weigh the pros and cons of both annulments and divorces. If you are interested in learning how to get an annulment, contact Rick Banks Law by calling 559-222-4891.