An annulment is very different from a divorce. In an annulment, there is no divorce. The court is declaring that either (i) no valid marriage ever took place or (ii) the marriage is voidable, which means it ends without a divorce once the annulment is final. The court will not award alimony or divide property or debts, and paternity may even be called into question.

California family law applies to Rancho Cucamonga residents seeking a divorce. California recognizes a number of grounds for annulment, including:

Bigamy

Bigamy occurs when someone is married to two people at the same time. This may happen due to fraud, or it may happen when one party doesn’t realize the divorce to their prior spouse was never finalized and proceeds to marry someone else. Bigamous marriages justify an annulment of the second marriage except in limited circumstances.

Incest

Any incestuous marriage can support an annulment, regardless of whether either spouse knew of the blood relationship between them at the time of the marriage. California forbids marriage between ancestors and descendants, brothers and sisters of half as well as whole blood, uncles and nieces, and aunts and nephews.

Youth

In California, a prospective spouse is too young to marry if he is a minor (under 18), unless he obtains permission from the court and at least one parent. Without this, the minor can seek an annulment unless he voluntarily lived with his partner after he turned 18.   

Physical Incapacity

Physical incapacity as a ground for annulment means the inability to reproduce and raise children, including sexual incapacity. The incapacity must have existed at the time the marriage was entered in to, it must have continued until the time of annulment proceedings, and it must appear to be incurable.

Fraud

Fraud can be a ground for annulment if the other spouse misrepresented or concealed a fact that, if known at the time by the party seeking annulment, would have caused them not to consent to the marriage. An annulment must be sought within four years of discovery of the fraud, and the party seeking annulment must not have voluntarily lived with his spouse during that time.

“Unsound Mind”

A party seeking an annulment may obtain an annulment if they can establish that they were of unsound mind (unable to understand the nature and consequences of their consent to marriage) at the time the marriage took place. If such party regains his reason and continues to live with his spouse voluntarily, he cannot seek an annulment on this basis.

“Shotgun Marriages”

The technical term for this ground is “force,” and it includes circumstances beyond the typical shotgun marriage where one spouse (typically male) is forced to marry at the point of a gun. Even non-violent threats can constitute force under California annulment law.

Contact CKB Vienna LLP Today

CKB Vienna LLP, has assisted a great number of clients with divorce-related issues, including annulments. If you are seeking an annulment of your marriage or if your spouse is seeking an annulment over your objections, call us at 909-980-1040 or contact us online to learn how we can help you solve your problem. We serve clients throughout Rancho Cucamonga, including Alta Loma and Etiwanda.

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