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Los Angeles annulment lawyerIf you are seeking an annulment, speak with an experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyer at Berenji & Associates today. We have over 20 years experience dealing with annulments and offer a free consultation for your convenience.

An civil annulment refers to a legal proceeding to adjudge a marriage or domestic partnership a nullity. An annulment may be maintained upon an allegation that the marriage is “void” (California Family Code §§2200-2201), “voidable” (California Family Code §§ 2210), or invalid for failing to comply with statutory formalities (California Family Code § 297(b).) Unlike a religious annulment, which is granted by a church or clergy member, a civil annulment is granted by petitioning a California Family Court.

Understanding “Void” vs “Voidable” Marriage When Seeking An Annulment

Void Marriage:

A void marriage/domestic partnership is invalid as a matter of law from its inception. The law regards this marriage as never having existed, and its invalidity may be asserted and shown in any proceeding in which the fact of marriage may be material. (Estate of Gregorson (1911) 160 Cal. 21, 26, 116 P. 60.)

While this marriage never legally existed, you should still seek a formal judgment of nullity that is then entered into the public record. This judgment conclusively determines the parties’ support and marital rights.

A marriage is void under the following circumstances:

  • Incest: A marriage is void from the beginning if between:
    • Parents and children,
    • Ancestors and descendants of every degree,
    • Siblings (of the half or whole blood), or
    • Between uncles or aunts and nieces and nephews
  • Bigamy: If you or your spouse were already married at the time of your marriage, then the subsequent marriage is “void” as a matter of law.
    • Exceptions: Under Family Code § 2201(a)(2), a subsequent marriage is only voidable in the event that at the time of the subsequent marriage the former spouse is still living and:
      • (A) is absent, and not known to the person to be living for the period of five successive years immediately preceding the subsequent marriage, or
      • (B) is generally reputed or believed by the person to be dead at the time the subsequent marriage was contracted.
      • This exception only applies to the deserted spouse (the one that was abandoned). The deserting spouse does not qualify for this protection and his/her subsequent marriage is void.
  • Marriage not lawfully Contracted: A marriage that fails to comply with Family Code § 300(a) and 306 requirements is void and invalid from its inception. For example, failure to obtain a marriage license could result in the marriage being deemed void.

Voidable Marriage:

A “voidable” marriage, on the other hand, is valid until adjudged a nullity. In other words, the marriage is technically valid until a court invalidates it. A marriage can be voidable on the following grounds:

  • Minority: a marriage is voidable if a party to the marriage was under 18 and failed to obtain the required parental/court consent. However, if the party, after reaching age 18, continues to freely cohabitate with the other as his or her spouse, then the marriage is no longer voidable (Family Code § 2210(a).)
  • Unsound Mind: If either party was of “unsound mind” (unable to understand the subject matter of the marriage contract and obligations), then the marriage is voidable. However, if after coming to reason the person continues cohabitating with his or her spouse, then the marriage is valid.
  • Fraud: If consent for marriage was obtained by fraud, the marriage is voidable. If the defrauded party continued to cohabitate with the other as his or her spouse after becoming fully aware of the fraud, then marriage is valid.
  • Force: If consent for the marriage was obtained by force, unless the coerced party continues to “freely cohabitate with the other as his or her spouse.” (Family Code § 2210(e).)
  • Physical Incapacity: If either party is unable to consummate the marriage and the incapacity appears to be incurable, then the marriage is voidable.

Bringing a Nullity Petition

In California, a party commences a nullity action by filing an FL-100. (See Family Code § 2250.) More information on filing for an annulment can be found on the California Court’s website. Bear in mind the moving party (the person seeking to annul the marriage) has the burden of proof. The process can be complex, and having a qualified Los Angeles annulment lawyer help you can greatly increase your chances of a positive outcome.

Divorce vs. Annulment – What’s the Difference?

A divorce ends an existing, legally valid marriage. An annulment, on the other hand, treats the marriage as never having existed.

Speak To A Los Angeles Annulment Attorney Today

Before seeking an annulment, speak to a member of our team to answer any questions you may have. Our experienced attorneys will assist you through the entire process. Our office represents clients throughout Los Angeles.