Do I Qualify To Get An Annulment In Florida?
There is a lot of confusion about annulments because of similarities with divorce. Plus, there is also misinformation because these matters are a legal issue as well as a topic addressed by churches and religious organizations. Many US states have enacted statutes, but Florida divorce laws do not address annulment. To establish that a marriage is void or voidable, you must turn to common law. Florida courts have created the laws of annulment through opinions handed down over the years.
Therefore, you must still meet the common law requirements and qualifications for annulment. The parties need grounds to annul a marriage, and you will likely need to go through the full divorce process if you do not meet them. There are also challenges if your “spouse” contests annulment and states that the marriage is legal. An Orlando annulments attorney can explain eligibility and assist with essential tasks, but you can also read on for some basics on whether you qualify.
Grounds for Annulment: There are multiple grounds you can claim to seek annulment, but they vary based on whether the marriage is void or voidable. Void means the marriage was invalid from the start, while voidable means there is a flaw that makes annulment proper. The only marriages that are void are those involving bigamy, incest or because one spouse is permanently, mentally incapacitated and unable to consent.
You may qualify to annul your marriage under the voidable grounds if:
- One spouse did not have capacity to consent because of a medical condition, alcohol, or drugs;
- A spouse used fraud or misrepresentations to entice the other into marriage;
- One or both of the spouses were under duress or forced to marry;
- One spouse is an unemancipated minor, and the parent or guardian did not consent;
- A party is impotent and the other spouses was unaware at the time of marrying; and,
- Both parties entered into the marriage as a joke.
Steps for Getting an Annulment: The person seeking to annul the marriage initiates the process by filing a petition that explains the reasons for annulment, including any relevant evidence. If you qualify and both spouses want the annulment, the court will enter an order ending the marriage.
However, the respondent spouse may dispute annulment and the facts stated in the petition. If the judge finds that the evidence provided by the respondent indicates a valid marriage, the court will not issue an order annulling the marriage. Instead, the parties must move to divorce proceedings to end the marriage. With divorce, you will have to address property division, alimony, custody and support for minor children. In an annulment case, the parties will only address issues related to children, because they still have rights and duties as parents.
Contact a Central Florida Annulments Lawyer for Help with the Process
This overview should help you understand the criteria for annulling a marriage in Florida, but you will need assistance with the forms and legal proceedings. For additional details, please contact Greater Orlando Family Law. You can set up a consultation by calling 407-377-6399 or visiting us online.