Puja Sachdev | March 1, 2023 | Divorce
When you obtain a divorce, you legally end your marriage. However, a divorce does not erase the fact that you were married.
With an annulment, it is as if you were never married. Not all marriages qualify for an annulment in California.
A marriage annulment in California is a complex legal matter. In some ways, an annulment can be more complicated than a dissolution of a marriage. Therefore, you should seek legal advice from a San Diego annulment lawyer to avoid costly mistakes.
How To Annul a Marriage in San Diego
When you petition the court for an annulment, you ask the court to determine your marriage was not legally valid. In other words, you should never have been allowed to get married because of a legal issue. If the court grants your petition for annulment, the marriage is voided.
What Are the Reasons for an Annulment in San Diego?
Just wishing that you had never married your spouse is not a sufficient reason for an annulment. You need a valid legal reason to have a marriage annulled. Examples of reasons why a court might grant an annulment petition include:
- Duress – One spouse was forced to enter into the marriage against their will.
- Underage – One or both spouses were not of legal age to marry and did not have parental or court consent.
- Incest – The spouses are related closely by blood.
- Bigamy – A spouse was legally married or in a domestic partnership at the time of the marriage.
- Physical Incapacity – A spouse concealed a permanent condition that rendered them sexually impotent, or they refused to consummate the marriage.
- Mental Incapacity – A spouse lacked the legal capacity to consent to the marriage, including intoxication, cognitive impairment, and mental illness.
- Fraud – A spouse concealed or misinterpreted essential facts.
A person does not need to be aware of the above factors before marriage to obtain an annulment. They might become aware of the situation later. However, there are time limits on how long a person has to get an annulment in some cases.
How Long Do You Have To Get an Annulment in San Diego?
Two ways that a marriage can be voided are incest and bigamy, as listed above. In most circumstances, you can petition for an annulment at any time on these grounds.
The annulment timeframe for other grounds includes:
- Four years after a person’s 18th birthday on the grounds of being underage.
- Four years after you discovered your spouse committed fraud to get you to marry them.
- You or your conservator can petition to annul a marriage on the grounds of mental capacity at any time. However, if you later understood you were married and decided to remain married, mental capacity would not be grounds for annulment.
- Four years after the marriage on the grounds of physical incapacity to have sex or consummate the marriage.
- Four years if you were forced or coerced into marrying your spouse.
There could be other deadlines that apply in an annulment case. Therefore, it is best to talk to a San Diego annulment attorney as soon as you suspect that your marriage is void or can be annulled. You may need to act quickly to have the marriage annulled instead of seeking a divorce.
Potential Issues You Could Face if You Get an Annulment Instead of a Divorce
Because an annulment means your marriage never existed, an annulment could impact property settlement, child custody, and domestic support.
California is a community property state. Therefore, property acquired during the marriage is subject to property division.
However, if the marriage never existed, there would be no community property. Therefore, an annulment can substantially impact how property is divided between the parties.
Likewise, if the marriage never existed, you cannot demand spousal support or alimony. And because you were never married, you might need a paternity test to confirm the child’s father for custody and child support issues. It is assumed that the husband is the child’s legal father if you are married, but the assumption disappears if the marriage is annulled.
A San Diego divorce lawyer can help you weigh the pros and cons of an annulment. Based on your situation, you may want to choose a divorce over an annulment.
Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in San Diego, CA
San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108