Committing to another person and getting married is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Ideally, it’s life-changing in a good way. However, many people realize that their marriage was a mistake. If you regret getting married, divorce may not be your only option.
Instead, you may be able to annul your marriage if it meets specific criteria. Here’s how annulments work and how to find out whether you’re eligible to get your marriage annulled.
What Is an Annulment
When you get divorced, your marriage ends, but the court acknowledges that the legal relationship existed. Civil annulment goes a step further. When a wedding is annulled, the court essentially undoes it, so it legally never existed. This leads to three significant differences from divorces:
- All prenuptial and postnuptial contracts are considered void because the relationship never legally occurred.
- California’s community property laws do not apply because there was no legal wedding, so all property is considered separate.
- The court can annul marriages without meeting the six-month waiting period for divorce.
These factors make annulments faster than divorces. They also completely prevent the need for asset division, which may or may not be beneficial.
Am I Eligible for Annulments?
Marriages can only be annulled if they are “void” or “voidable.” If they are void, they are always illegal, while voidable weddings are only unlawful in specific circumstances. Reasons for annulling a marriage include:
- Incest: Marriages between close blood relatives are always void and can be annulled anytime.
- Bigamy: If your spouse is already married to another living person, your marriage is void.
- Age: If you were under 18 when you got married, the wedding is voidable, and you can request an annulment until your 22nd birthday.
- Mental capacity: If you didn’t understand what was happening when you got married, you could request an annulment once you know you’re married.
- Fraud: If your spouse lied to you about something that would have caused you not to marry them, you could request that your wedding is annulled within four years of discovering the fraud.
- Coercion: If you were threatened or forced to get married, you could request to have it annulled within four years of your wedding.
How to Get an Annulment
Getting your wedding annulled can be complex. You must prove that your wedding was either void or voidable to qualify for an annulment. Annulling a void wedding is easier because proof of bigamy or incest is typically obvious. However, it’s more difficult to prove you’re eligible for annulment because your marriage is voidable. The most effective way to get your marriage annulled is by consulting an experienced annulment attorney. At Viola Law Firm P.C., we have 35 years of experience helping clients find the most effective ways to end their marriages. We can help you determine if you’re eligible and the best way to move forward with your split. Learn more about how our skilled California annulment attorneys can help you by getting in touch with our firm today.