Annulment – Orange County

An annulment is a nullity (voiding) of a marriage or a domestic partnership, where the Court orders that the marriage or domestic partnership is not legally valid. After an annulment, it is like the marriage never happened, as it was never legal in the eyes of the court. To get an annulment, you have to prove one of the following legal reasons for an annulment exists:

  1. The marriage was incestuous;
  2. The marriage was bigamous
  3. One of the people who was married was a minor at the time of the marriage;
  4. Either party was already legally married or in a registered domestic partnership, but the other partner was absent for five (5) years and not known to be living;
  5. Either party was of unsound mind when they became married;
  6. The marriage was a result of fraud;
  7. The marriage was a result of force;
  8. The marriage was to someone physically incapacitated.

There are various filing deadlines (statutes of limitations) for filing an annulment, dependent on the reason the parties or party want to void the relationship. As the annulment results in the marriage or domestic partnership being viewed as if it never happened, this means there are no automatic parentage responsibilities without an order of the court, so you must ask the Court to make orders like child custody, visitation, and support.

After an annulment, the parties cannot use community property laws to divide their property or debt, since the marriage never existed. A civil court proceeding will be required if the parties’ need the court’s assistance for any kind of property or debt division. This also means there is no right, usually, to spousal support, or a right to the other person’s pension or retirement benefits. However, there is an exception, where someone meets the “putative” spouse or domestic partner status. To prove that you have “putative” spouse or partner status can be a complicated process, as it entails proving that you had a good faith belief that the marriage or domestic partnership was legal under California law. If you are successful, the Court can enter financial orders as if the marriage was actually intact.

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