Understanding the Concept of Annulment in California

If you are married and don’t want to be anymore, there are two options available to you in California. Divorce is the most common option, and is the only option for most people. In certain specific instances though, California law allows a marriage to be annulled. Rather than ending a marriage, as divorces do, a legal annulment makes it so the marriage never took place or existed. How is this so?

Well, unlike a divorce, an annulment looks at conditions surrounding when the marriage began to determine if it was ever valid or not. In most circumstances, if an annulment is possible, it is a better option than a normal divorce. Understanding when an annulment is possible in the state of California is very important.

So When is an Annulment Possible in California?

When seeking an annulment, the courts will look for a number of different possibilities to see if the marriage was not valid at the time it was contracted. The following are the most common reasons why a marriage is invalid, and therefore able to be annulled:

  • Underage – Both parties need to be 18 or older when married (unless they have parental consent).
  • Relation – If it is found that the parties are closely related (siblings aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, etc.) then the marriage is invalid. This applies even if the parties involved did not know of their relation when they got married.
  • Already Married – If one of the spouse was already legally married to someone else at the time of the wedding, the marriage can be annulled.
  • Compulsion – If one of the parties was being forced to contract the marriage against their will, it is invalid.

What Happens After a Marriage is Annulled?

If you seek an annulment, and it is granted, it is important to know what to expect moving forward. Unlike a divorce where the courts will try to split everything up in such a way as to set both parties up for success after the marriage, an annulment is going to try to return things to the way they were prior to the attempted marriage.

In most cases, annulments are sought within weeks or months of an attempted marriage, which often makes it easy to restore things to the way they were. If the invalid marriage lasted for a long time, however, the courts will need to divide assets and address any custody or child support issues in much the same way as a typical divorce. The main difference between an annulment and a divorce is that if one of the parties gets married in the future, it will be seen (legally) as their first marriage.

Get the Help You Need

The laws surrounding annulments can be quite complex, and since most people never go through one, they don’t know what to expect. Working with an attorney who is familiar with annulments in California can help to ensure everything goes smoothly. Please contact Grey Legal Group to go over your situation and see if your marriage can be annulled.

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The Grey Legal Group, APC

At The Grey Legal Group, we take pride in getting to know our clients personally. Whether you’re going through a divorce, child custody issues, or problems enforcing divorce orders, you can feel confident in our knowledgeable, hands-on approach.

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