An annulment (or “nullity of marriage”) is when a court declares that a marriage is not and has never been legally valid. Under California law, an annulment may be obtained when the marriage was the result of force, fraud, or physical or mental incapacity, if one of the spouses was too young to legally marry, or one of the spouses was already married. Because of the limited legal justifications for an annulment, annulments are very rare. Courts do not grant annulments simply because a marriage was very short, even if both parties jointly request the annulment.
Instances which could justify an annulment include:
- Intoxication or substance abuse caused lack of consent by either party.
- After the marriage, one of the parties learned for the first time that the other had been declared legally insane.
- The parties to the marriage are related by blood.
- One of the parties was under age 18 at the time of the marriage and did not have his/her parents’ consent to marry and was not previously emancipated.
- One party was previously married to someone else but had not obtained a divorce from that prior spouse at the time of this marriage.
- One party did not believe the marriage was legal.
- Consent of one party to the marriage was obtained by force.
- One party misrepresented or concealed impotency and/or the inability to engage in sexual relations with the other spouse.
If you are unsure whether your circumstances would permit you to obtain an annulment, we would be pleased to discuss the matter with you during your initial, free consultation.