When an annulment is granted it technically means that the marriage was never valid, it is completely erased from public records.
Just like a divorce, the annulment can be initiated by either one, it can be done in mutual agreement or it can be done by using a sheriff to serve the other party.
Even if there are children involved, an annulment can still be obtained. If minor children are involved in the case, then a parenting plan and child support would still apply.
In the State of Florida, while the divorce laws are very clear, there are no statutes that address annulment procedures.
This makes the annulment process complicated because the claims made must be proven and the judge must agree the proof provided is enough to grant an annulment. This is the major difference between filing for annulment and from filing a divorce. In a divorce the circumstances are not important as long as one of the parties want the divorce.
Because Florida is a no-fault divorce state, on most cases the judge’s role is mostly sign a final judgement and send each party on their way. In an annulment, the judge must be convinced that the marriage is illegal and the proof is there to support it.
To file for annulment you will need the proper petition, and supporting documents. The supporting documents are the same as if filing for divorce; financial affidavits, notice of social security, notice of related cases (if applicable), summons (if not in agreement), and 20 days after the other party has been served a default and motion for default (if applicable), as well as the request for hearing.
GROUNDS FOR ANNULMENT
Following is a list of situations that may be used when filing an annulment:
· Bigamy – You can request an annulment if your spouse was married to another person and did not get a divorce prior to marrying you. This applies even if the previous marriage occurred in a different country. See details of a famous recent bigamy case HERE. If you can provide a certified copy of the marriage license, your spouse will be required to provide a certified copy of the divorce papers, otherwise the annulment will most likely be granted.
· Forced Consent – This is when one of the spouses was forced or threatened into marriage and only entered into it because he or she felt they had no other choice. You will need prove of this by texts, emails, or witnesses for the annulment to be granted.
· Fraud – You can file for annulment when you agreed to get married based on the lies and misrepresentations of your spouse. Such as using a false name, being of another sex, having a romantic relationship with someone else, etc.
· Marriage prohibited by law –When the relationship is considered incestuous, one of the parties are of a younger age than allowed, same sex marriage when not allowed etc.
· Mental Illness – You can request for annulment if your spouse was mentally ill or emotionally unable to make sound decisions. This is tricky to prove. You will need a doctor statement corroborating your petition. Good luck getting the proof! Due to the medical privacy laws it will be almost impossible to obtain documentation without the other party consent.
· Mental Incapacity – If the other party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the marriage ceremony. Proof can be submitted as videos, statements of close friends or relatives. In court testimony of the witnesses will most likely be requested.
· Inability of Consumate the Marriage - Another reason to file for annulment is if the other party was physically incapable of consuming the marriage. Because of the intimate nature of this situation, it is the most difficult to prove and very few cases are actually granted.
While an annulment sounds like an amazing alternative to a divorce, you need to keep in mind what proof you can submit with your petition. Submitting a case without the convincing power will be a waste of time and money.
OPTION INSTEAD OF ANNULMENT
Most attorneys will tell you that they prefer filing for divorces than annulments. This is because there is no clear law regarding annulments in the State of Florida and the whole decision power remains on the judge. Filing for a quick no-court divorce can be done faster and without ever stepping foot in a courtroom while an annulment requires proof, attending a hearing and a judge that agrees with you.
Find out about a quick Florida no-court divorce HERE