You may have heard about annulments and wonder how they differ from divorces. If you have been married a short time, you may be considering an annulment. Annulments are often preferred over divorces because they make it appear as if the marriage never happened. You don’t have to admit to ever being divorced. But if you’re stuck in a marriage you regret, does the annulment process apply to you?
A divorce ends a marriage that was valid in the first place. An annulment, on the other hand, is available only for ending marriages that are invalid. So, what constitutes an invalid marriage?
Annulment laws vary from state to state. Just because you were married for a short time or never had sexual relations with each other does not automatically mean you qualify for an annulment. In order to receive an annulment versus a divorce, you will have to prove one of the following:
- Fraud, such as lying or deception in order to get the person to consent to marriage
- Inability to consummate the marriage
- A spouse was married to another person at the time of the marriage (bigamy)
- Mental incapacity
- Person was forced to marry the other person
- Incurable insanity for five years or longer
- One spouse was underage
Annulment Time Limits
If you are considering an annulment, there is no minimum amount of time that you have to be married, unlike a divorce. If you get married and want to get it annulled the next day, you can do so, provided that one of the above situations applies.
However, there are time limits in certain cases, so if you are considering an annulment, you don’t want to wait too long. Otherwise, you will have to end your marriage through a divorce.
If your spouse is married to another person, you can get an annulment at any time. If you find out your spouse is underage, you can get an annulment only until the spouse reaches the legal age. If you want to annul the marriage due to mental illness, you can do so as long as the mental illness continues.
If your spouse has an inability to consummate the marriage, you have five years from the date of marriage to seek an annulment. If the marriage is based on force or fraud, you have six years from the date of marriage to seek an annulment, under New York civil law.
No matter when the annulment takes place, any children produced in the marriage are considered legitimate. The courts in New York do not provide forms for annulments. Therefore, if you are considering an annulment, speak with a divorce lawyer. He or she can help you with the process.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer Today
Are you regretting your marriage? Do you have questions about the annulment process? If so, it’s time to seek legal help.
Brooklyn divorce attorney Theodore Alatsas ESQ understands the laws regarding annulment and if it can be used in your situation. He can review your case and can advise you of the law. To schedule a free consultation, contact him at (718) 233-2903.