Under New York state law, an annulment is a court declaration that a marriage is null and void. In other words, it should not have taken place – according to the law. Two types of marriages may be subject to annulment: (1) those that are void (never legal to begin with) and (2) those that can be voided (in legal effect, but had some defect that will allow a court to annul). No matter the type of divorce to be annulled, the standard of proof required is higher than that of divorce and Domestic Relations Law 144 also requires the evidence provided to be substantiated.
Some examples of marriages that can be annulled include those:
- Between close relatives;
- Where one party is not divorced from a prior, still living, spouse;
- Where one of the parties is under the age of 18;
- In which one of the parties is mentally incapacitated;
- Whose ceremony was performed by someone without proper authority;
- Entered into as a result of duress, force, or fraudulent conduct; and
- In which one of the parties is unable to have sexual relations due to a physical disability.
Steps for Annulment
There are several requirements in order to properly annul a marriage, but there is no time limit on how long you have to be married before you can get an annulment (unlike a divorce). The following steps should be taken if you or someone you know is interested in annulling a marriage.
- Before filling out a petition for annulment, maintain residency in the state of New York for at least one year;
- If children are involved, seek out the legal assistance of a New York annulment attorney, as the same issues as a divorce will come up in court;
- Determine if your marriage is “void” or “voidable”, as the former does not require a court order and the latter does;
- Have the “innocent party” (the one that has done no legal wrong) complete and file a petition to annul with the court;
- Have a disinterested party serve your spouse with a copy of the petition;
- Provide proof of service to the court;
- Wait for your spouse to file an answer;
- Gather evidence that your marriage should be annulled while you await a court hearing; and
- Attend the court hearing, and be sure to follow exactly all of the instructions provided by the judge.
A marriage that has been annulled remains on the record and any children born during an annulled marriage are considered legitimate under the law. Moreover, an annulment allows the court to make decisions on the breakup just as if it were a divorce. This includes child support, child custody, equitable distribution and payment of attorney and expert fees.
Contact a Brooklyn Annulment Lawyer
If you or someone you know is interested in annulling a marriage, contact an experienced Brooklyn annulment lawyer today and find out the best option for you and your spouse under the law. The attorneys at the offices of Alatsas Law Firm have years of family law experience guiding clients in all types of family law matters. The experienced Brooklyn annulment lawyer at Alatsas Law Firm are experienced and hard working. Schedule an initial free consultation by calling (718)-233-2903 today or fill out a contact form online.