Written by attorney Diane Michelle Singleton-Smith

Annulment in California

Annulment is distinct from divorce in that it claims that the marriage never legally existed, or that it was based on fraud. To get an annulment, one must do so before the statute of limitations expires.

Marriage these days is a complicated legal process. People can’t simply decide that they don’t want to be married anymore and just wash their hands of the marriage. There are specific rules that people have to follow in order to get married, and to get a divorce.

However, under certain circumstances, people can ask for what is called an “annulment" as opposed to a divorce. With an annulment, the courts are basically saying that the marriage was illegal, or that it was based on fraud. With a divorce, the marriage is legally recognized and is considered valid in the eyes of the law.

There are specific grounds for getting an annulment in the state of California that are recognized by the court system. A person cannot obtain an annulment just because a party claimed to be wealthy, when they were actually poor. An annulment won’t be granted because a person was deceitful about their morality and chastity either. Furthermore, if someone entered into a marriage and soon after realized that their spouse had an alcohol or substance abuse problem, or if they suddenly realized that their spouse were lazy or had a violent temper, these wouldn’t suffice as reasons to seek an annulment. In essence, a person can’t seek an annulment just because they realized that they didn’t really know the person that they were marrying and they made a huge mistake.

There are however, sufficient grounds for an annulment in the state of California. A person can seek an annulment if they were married under duress, or if they were compelled to get married by threats, or the threats of bodily harm. A person can seek an annulment if their spouse is suffering from mental illness and is somehow mentally incapacitated. If the marriage was performed without the person’s consent, then they can seek an annulment. An annulment may be granted if one of the parties cannot consummate the marriage, or if one of the parties in the marriage were underage, or lacked their parent’s consent.

Grounds for annulment also include: an improper marriage license that did not meet the legal requirements, fraud, or if one of the spouse’s is already, or still married to someone else, or if one of the spouse’s hid the fact that they cannot have children from the other spouse. Marriages between blood relatives are also illegal, in addition to bigamy and polygamy in the state of California.

In California, your marriage will have to meet the criteria in order to obtain an annulment. There is a statute of limitations associated with annulments; therefore, by taking swift legal action, you may be able to legally say that you were never married and move on with your life with the invalid marriage behind you. A qualified family law attorney will be able to ascertain if you have grounds for an annulment. If you would like to start taking action to invalidate your marriage, contact a family lawyer without delay.

Additional resources provided by the author

The legal team at Singleton Smith Law Offices has proudly represented clients in Riverside County for a number of years. Their firm is well versed in all aspects of family law ranging from prenuptial agreements, to annulments and divorce. No matter what situation you are presently dealing with, they can confidently offer you sound legal advice that can put you in the driver’s seat. Family law matters are known to be highly stressful, retaining legal representation will take the guesswork out of the process for you, and it will afford you the greatest opportunity for a successful outcome. Let their firm bring their experience and proven success to the table when representing you, contact a Murrieta family law lawyer from the firm for an initial consultation at (800) 640-7045 today.

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