What is Annulment of a Marriage?
Within culture and society, the definition of culture has changed over time, but while it is important to keep up with the social connotations of marriage, the legal definitions are equally vital to understand. This is certainly the case for annulment. In most cases, a divorce is used to end a marriage. However, an annulment proves that the marriage was never legally valid in the first place.
Getting an Annulment
A couple who files and receives an annulment will then have their marriage or partnership viewed as invalid by the law. Since the marriage apparently didn’t exist in the first place, the couple is not entitled to the rights others receive following a separation, or divorce. One of the most important rights that does not apply is to division of community property. This can then make the division of property very stressful.
While those who are filing for annulment have to prove their case, there are two instances when the law views a marriage as invalid, regardless of whether the couple agrees. If the marriage is between two blood relatives (incest) or is with someone who is already married (bigamy) then those are immediately invalid. Other cases that can be used to prove annulment include fraud, marriage by force, and many others.
Some may think that filing for an annulment is an easy get around for filing for divorce. That is most definitely not the case. As mentioned previously, annulments do not result in the same rights for the separating couple and more importantly, you cannot file for an annulment at any point you’d like. There is a statute of limitations, which means that the annulment case must be filed within a certain amount of time. For example, if a marriage is to be considered invalid due to fraud, the case must be filed within four years. As with anything related to separation, divorce, and the legality of marriage, consult with experienced attorneys who can help you understand your rights.