Understanding the Annulment of a Marriage

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsThere are some people who feel that annulling their marriage is a good alternative of divorcing their spouse. While a civil annulment is regarded as legal, an annulment done through a Catholic church is religious in nature and not recognized by civil courts.

What is marriage annulment?

It is process wherein a marriage is declared to be null and void from the start. A marriage annulment is typically granted for any one of the reasons mentioned below:

  • Both spouses or any one of them was given a threatening to go through the process of getting married.
  • The partners are related by blood, which should have prohibited the marriage in the very beginning.
  • A spouse is not legally eligible for marriage since he or she was already married or was underage in a state where their marriage took place.
  • Mental capacity of one of the spouse diminished due to consumption of certain toxins like alcohol or drug abuse, or illness.
  • Concealment of crucial information or undisclosed details i.e. fraud was committed by either one or both the spouses while agreeing to get married.

These above conditions may vary based on the state where the spouses reside. There could be some states that have laid down time limits to file for an annulment.  You can get in touch with a good lawyer in your locality to learn about the exact legalities involved in the process.

Annulment through a Catholic Church

A Catholic Church may annul the marriage if it learns the said marriage was not conducted with proper intentions. The Catholic Church opines that there are two key points, which should be upheld when the marriage vows were exchanged:

  • There is an intention to be faithful to the spouse all through the marriage.
  • Physical ability and the necessary willingness to procreate.

Other scenarios like psychological condition, mental illness, or extreme immaturity can also be taken into account while the church makes a decision on if the marriage is valid or not. The concerned couple must express their desire of getting their marriage annulled to the priest.

Annulment just deals with the intention on the marriage day when the couple exchanges their vows. Its purpose is not to end a marriage and rather signifying that the marriage did not exist at all from the very beginning. This is the fundamental difference between a divorce and an annulment. The former acknowledges that a marriage did take place and ends it subsequently.

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

The 3 Other Alternatives to a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsAre you uncertain of whether you want to divorce your spouse or not? If it is so, you can relax since there are various other alternatives to a divorce, which you may consider. These are counseling, annulment, and separation.

Legal separation

If you opt for a legal separation from your spouse, your marriage does not end. However, it does make life easier to live away from your spouse when the situation is not right. You can also get a legal on ways of coping up with concerns such as child custody and finances while in a separation. There are a number of reasons why you and your spouse may want to opt for a legal separation. They include:

  • Not in favor divorce due to religious reasons
  • An effort to stay separately prior to going ahead with a return to your married life or a divorce.
  • Opting to separate till the time you satisfy the state’s requirements for divorce.

You need to understand that going for a legal separation does not mean your marriage has ended.

Moreover, such a state does not permit you to get married to another person. Legal separation is just a way for managing your child custody, finances as well as other relevant issues.


When a married couple gets in touch with a mental health professional, clergy member or a counselor to get their concerns addressed, the process is called counseling. There are some widely-known reasons of divorces like communication gaps, financial differences and lack of physical intimacy that can be effectively sorted out with the help of a therapist sometimes. This is a good alternative when you want to remain with your spouse in the marriage.

Unlike a divorce, the couple remains married while the counseling process is on. Moreover, the said couple’s legal situations, childcare and financial situation also remain the same.


It is a process that proves that the marriage did not exist from the very beginning.  You can annul your marriage for certain issues, which existed prior to your marriage. Such issues are now making your marriage invalid in the eyes of the law. Some of the potential causes for annulment could be polygamy, underage marriage, duress, and fraud.

Annulments can be distinguished from divorces as you may not be able to make claims for community property rights or spousal support, unless the other person qualifies as a “putative spouse” in California that could entitle that person to obtain such rights as if they were a legal spouse.

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

When Can You Seek An Annulment?

Posted 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

Annulment As An Alternative To Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsMarriage annulment is a fairly misunderstood concept owing to the inaccurate projection of its legality by the popular religion and culture. Both annulment and divorce can be considered somewhat similar in their basic underlying principle of determining the status of wedlock. However, the major distinguishing factor that separates an annulment from a divorce is the implication of the marital status post a verdict in the court of law in the two cases.

What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?

A divorce or a legal separation marks the end of a valid relationship and implies that the couple is no longer viewed by the court as man and wife. On the other hand, an annulment, colloquially termed as nullity of domestic partnership or marriage, is when the court declares the domestic partnership or marriage never really existed in the first place. Post a verdict of annulment, it is assumed that the marriage never really happened as it was not valid or legal to begin with.

What are the grounds for filing for an annulment?

  • A marriage is never considered valid by the Californian state law, if the two parties involved are related by blood.
  • Another situation wherein a marriage stands illegal or invalid is when one of the partners is already in an existing registered wedlock with someone else. The marriage is then termed as bigamous.
  • A person who was below the acceptable age of 18 years at the time of his/her marriage can also file for an annulment of the same.
  • Another situation which is somewhat similar to bigamy can be distinguished on the basis of the fact that a spouse, who was already married to someone else, gets into another wedlock on the premise that the former partner has been absent and assumed dead for the past five years.
  • If either of the partners has an unsound mind that prohibits them from understanding the true implication and obligations of a marriage, their spouse can request an annulment.
  • An annulment can also be requested in a situation where a marriage was a result of fraud. For example, if an individual deceives his partner into wedlock only for obtaining a green card, the marriage will be considered fraudulent and invalid.
  • In cases where a partner was forcefully made to consent for a marriage, an individual can file a petition for an annulment.
  • Finally, if one of the partners was physically incapacitated at the time of marriage which rendered him/her unable to consummate the relationship, and the incapacity continues to stay incurable, the healthy partner has the right to file for annulment.

In order to obtain an annulment, it is mandatory for an individual to be able to prove at least one of the aforementioned reasons, with authentic evidential proof in the court of law.

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

What Is An Annulment Of A Marriage?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsAnnulment and divorce both mean the end of a marriage but an annulment suggests that the marriage never took place. Some people do not like the sound of the word ‘divorce’ (it carries a kind of a social or religious stigma for them). Instead, they prefer to annul their marriage. In certain churches, remarriage after an annulment is a lot easier than after a divorce.

Most annulled marriages are of a very short duration. The couple may have been married for a couple of weeks or months or even less. But sometimes long term marriages are also annulled. Annulment is of two types – civil annulment and religious annulment.

Religious annulment – Annulments granted by the church are called religious annulments. Under the Roman Catholic Church, religious annulments can be sought after a civil divorce. It allows either person from the ended marriage to remarry within the church. The church will recognize such a remarriage.

Civil annulment – Annulments granted by the state government are called civil annulments. It comes after a court proceeding. The grounds on which civil annulment can be sought differ from state to state. But at least some of the following reasons have to be true.

  • Unconsummated marriage – If the couple fails to consummate the marriage. May be one spouse is unable of sexual intercourse and the other one was not aware of this.
  • Fraud or perversion – If pieces of information valuable to the marriage are kept hidden by your spouse such as the inability to conceive or some terrible criminal record.
  • Forceful marriage – If either person has been forced into this marriage.
  • Underage – If either of the spouses was or is underage at the time of the marriage.
  • Bigamy – If either spouse was still legally married to another person at the time when this marriage took place.
  • Incest – If the spouses are related by blood. In the eyes of law and religion, it is illegal to marry a very close blood relation.
  • Mentally unstable – If either or both the people in a marriage were of unsound mind at the time of the wedding. They may have been under the heavy influence of drugs or alcohol.

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