Nullity of Marriage or annulment in California

A nullity of marriage is a judgment made by a court that cancels a marriage at the date of its beginning. California changed their legal term from ‘annulment’ to ‘nullity of marriage’ years ago.

Despite this change, most divorce lawyers still use the expression ‘annulment.’ Outside court proceedings, people use both words interchangeably; but, in court, the correct term to use is ‘nullity of marriage.’

What do I do to start the Nullity of Marriage Process?

commence the process of an annulment, you need to file a Petition for a Nullity of Marriage. The court clerk will issue a summons to coincide with your petition. After you have filed the proper paperwork, you need to have that paperwork “served” to the other party involved. The term “served” refers to the act of someone over the age of 18 (not you), giving a copy of the filed papers to the other party involved.

What are the Grounds for a Nullity of Marriage?

A marriage or domestic partnership may be found to be ‘void’ from its commencement if any of the following grounds are judged to be present. There are various reasons that people use to file for a marriage annulment in California. Here are a few:

* Incest: A marriage between blood relatives such as parents and children, brothers and sisters (either full or half), uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews is void from the start.

* Bigamy: An ensuing marriage or domestic partnership is illegal if either person has a spouse or domestic partner still alive unless the former marriage was dissolved through a divorce before the date of the successive marriage/domestic partnership.

* Marriage not lawfully contracted: This situation occurs when either party fails to obtain the requirements that are mandatory under California law for a lawful marriage license.

* Minor involved: A nullity document can be obtained if either party was under the age of 18 and did not gain parental consent.

* Insanity: This refers to the ability of each partner to understand the marriage contract and requirements or, in other words, to be of ‘sound mind’.

* Force: Each party’s consent to marriage must have been freely given.

* Physical inability: If either party has a physical deficiency that prohibits them from engaging in sexual activity and that the condition is not curable the marriage may be annulled.

* Fraud: This is the most common reason given when someone is pursuing an annulment. Fraud usually refers lies or concealment something important from the other spouse. Usually, this type of fraud is referring to the pro-creative aspect of marriage. Sometimes one side will withhold the fact that they are homosexual from their partner.

How do I Complete the Annulment Process?

Once the other party has been served with the summons, they have thirty-days to counter by filing a response with the court. If they never respond, you can ask the court to enter a default judgment in your favor and grant you a nullity of marriage. Each county has their own process and some are very different.

If one party files a reply to the summons, then there must be a trial to determine the legitimacy of the nullity.

Hiring a California Divorce Lawyer

If you believe that you or a family member may be in a marriage or domestic partnership that could be dissolved with an annulment and you desire to do so, you should seek the advice of a qualified family law attorney in your state.