When Can You Seek An Annulment?

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsAnnulment is a legal proceeding similar to a divorce that can dissolve a marriage. However, the basic distinguishing factor that separates annulment from a divorce is that the former treats a marriage as if it never occurred in the first place. In other words, an annulment can be an option for separating couples to render their marriage alliance completely void. There are various reasons such as divorce being viewed as a stigma or religious purposes that might compel a couple to go for an annulment as a means of ending their marriage. However, unlike divorce that can be granted for a variety of reasons, there are specific requirements or grounds that must be met for filing an annulment.

Incestuous marriage

An incestuous marriage between close blood relatives can be considered void by annulment in the state of California. For example, a marriage that has taken place between siblings, a parent and an offspring or even between two first cousins will be considered incestuous and eligible for dissolution by annulment. 

Either spouse was underage at the time of marriage

If one of the spouses was under 18 years of age at the time of the marriage, the underage partner has the right to file a petition for annulment in the court of law. However, the law doesn’t consider the couple eligible for annulment if the girl partner is pregnant or the couple already has a child together.

A spouse’s inability or refusal to consummate the marriage

An individual has the right to file for an annulment of the marriage if their spouse either refuses to or is incapable of indulging in sexual intimacy with the former. In other words, you can be granted an annulment if your partner is impotent and his/her condition is of a permanent nature.

The marriage was based on lies

If a marriage was actuated under the cover up of a fraudulent or deceitful intention, the partner who was duped can request an annulment in the court of law. For example, if a female fakes a pregnancy and persuades her partner for a marriage, the latter has the right to file for an annulment if he finds out that the intention was to trick him into the wedlock.

If you think that your marriage would be eligible for an annulment you should consult a lawyer and go ahead with the legal formalities of the lawsuit.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation