Annulment Lawyer in Ventura
Annulment refers to the action taken by the court to decide that a specific marriage action is void and cannot be legally recognized in California. Distinct differences exist between divorce and annulment. In a divorce, the marriage is terminated from that point onward. Annulment, however, makes the marriage unrecognizable as if it never existed. Annulment is a complex legal process that requires the attention of a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. Individuals who wish to pursue annulment should speak with one of our Ventura divorce attorneys at Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law.
Requirements for Annulment
If you are seeking annulment in California, understand the necessary requirements for this process to take place. Only a judge has the power to grant annulment and it can only be pursued in very limited circumstances. As you file for annulment, you must prove specific legal grounds before proceeding. In California, your marital circumstances must meet one of the grounds for annulment such as those in the following list:
- Under 18 years of age
- Marriage fraud
- Duress / coercion
In order to obtain a successful result with your annulment, you must take immediate action with the assistance of an experienced Ventura family lawyer. Our firm takes the time to develop a solid case that has the capacity to successfully annul your marriage. With more than 30 years of combined experience, Attorney Nelson Cutter can be your legal guide throughout the annulment process.
Statute of Limitations
In a California nullity cause of action, the case is subject to a statute of limitations. Depending on the specific cause of annulment, the statute of limitations will slightly alter. Following are the specific time limits and rules for causes of annulment:
Minority of a Party
Within four years after reaching age of consent, the underage party can petition. His or her parent or guardian can petition any time before the married minor reaches the age of consent.
Prior Existing Marriage
Either party of the new marriage or the former spouse can petition for annulment during the life of the other when a prior existing marriage is recognized. In this case, the current marriage occurred after the former spouse was absent for five years or not known to be living.
Petitions for nullity can be made on the ground of fraud by the party whose consent to marry was based on deception by the other party. The statute of limitations is four years from the date of discovery of the facts of the fraud.
Void vs. Voidable Marriages
Under California Family Code §§ 2200-2201, a void marriage is one that is null from the start. Void marriages never actually existed. Voidable marriages, according to California Family Code § 2210, are valid for civil purposes until they are adjudged a nullity. Marriages which are invalidated by a judge no longer exist in California. Basis for annulment will depend on whether the marriage is void or voidable. Bigamy, incest, and a marriage not lawfully contracted are reasons for a marriage to be adjudged a nullity as void. Voidable marriages can be adjudged a nullity on the basis of fraud, physical incapacity, force, minority of a party, or prior existing marriage.
Marriage fraud is a common cause of annuity in California. The type of fraud that is allowable must be related to the marriage. The concealment or misrepresentation must be an essential element of the relationship that affects the purpose of the deceived party to consent to marriage with the fraudulent party. Some forms of fraud which can result in a nullity judgment include:
- Concealment of sterility or existing pregnancy
- Intent to continue another sexual relationship
- Concealment of intent to not live with spouse
Although the list above is only a small representation of acceptable fraud charges, many other types of fraud do not warrant a nullity judgment. If you are not sure whether your case will be accepted for annulment, we encourage you to speak with a member of our firm for better clarity. Fill out our case evaluation form to commence your pursuit of annulment or fight against your spouse's request for annulment. Contact us today for the legal assistance your case requires!