San Diego Annulment Lawyers
Annulments in California
For various reasons, divorce may not be an option for some people. This might be for religious or cultural reasons, or because the person seeking to end the marriage wants to avoid a perceived stigma associated with being divorced. Contact a San Diego annulments lawyer for more information regarding this subject, or experienced and successful legal representation.
A civil annulment is a legal matter in which a court declares that a legal marriage never existed. In other words, what was thought to be a marriage was not valid under the law and never actually existed. It should not be confused with a religious annulment, which can only be granted by a religious authority. Having a civil annulment may ease the way to a religious annulment, however, because many of the grounds to nullify a marriage are the same in both; but they are separate and distinct.
Grounds for Annulment in California
Annulment is not a common way to end a marriage, and a legal annulment can only be ordered in specific situations outlined in California law:
- In cases of bigamy, where one spouse was married to another person at the time the second marriage took place
- The marriage is incestuous, i.e. the spouses are close blood relatives
- The spouse seeking the annulment was under the age of 18 when the marriage took place
- One spouse fraudulently enticed the other to marry
- Sexual relations are not possible because of an “incurable physical incapacity,” i.e. male impotence
- Where either spouse (or both) is mentally impaired in a way that prevents him or her from functioning as a marriage partner or from understanding the nature or meaning of marriage. This might be a developmental disability, mental illness, or being under the influence of a mind-altering substance at the time of the marriage
- The marriage was coerced or forced
Seek Legal Counsel when Requesting an Annulment
Annulments are uncommon in California and not easy to obtain. It is always a good idea to seek legal counsel when you feel strongly that you prefer an annulment to a divorce. An experienced family lawyer in San Diego can review the circumstances of your marriage and determine whether a legal case can be made to nullify it. Your attorney will then develop a cogent argument and carefully draft the required documents and will argue your case in court before a family law judge.
Time Restrictions for Obtaining and Annulment
One important difference between an annulment and a divorce is that, unlike divorce which can be filed at any time, there are time restrictions, called statutes of limitations, on obtaining an annulment. Your attorney will make sure that all filings are done in a timely manner so you don’t lose the right to request an annulment and support modification by filing your request past the legal deadline. Other issues may also complicate an annulment:
- Splitting of assets and debts: if the marriage is null, there is no community property, property settlement, and determination of what assets and debts belong to whom may be more difficult
- If there are children, it may be necessary to get a paternity order to compel child support and visitation
Expert Legal Counsel for Marriage Nullification and Dissolution
Obtaining an annulment of a marriage in California is difficult and rare. Having the advice and assistance of a good family law attorney can help resolve these issues and improve the likelihood that the court will grant your annulment and resolve these other matters in a way that allows you to put the “marriage” behind you and move on.
In San Diego, you can get the expert assistance you need from the skilled and experienced San Diego divorce attorneys at the Boyd Law Firm. We have a strong record of successful outcomes for our clients in all types of family law cases, including civil annulments. We will meet with you at no cost and review the circumstances surrounding your marriage to determine if one or more grounds for annulment exist. If you choose our firm to represent you, we will work tirelessly to document the evidence to support your request to have your marriage annulled, accurately prepare and file all necessary legal documents in a timely manner, and argue your case before the family court judge.
Don’t wait too long and risk losing your right to request an annulment. Contact the Boyd Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation.