Can I Get an Annulment Instead of a Divorce in Florida?
In some cases, a couple splitting up in Florida might be able to get an annulment instead of a divorce. However, annulments are only available in very limited circumstances. While most people do have a basic familiarity with the concept of annulments, far fewer have an understanding of how the process actually works. In the most simple terms, a divorce brings an end to a marriage. Conversely, an annulment declares that no valid marriage ever existed in the first place. If you are separating with your partner in Florida, and you believe that you want to seek an annulment, or if you have any questions about divorce in general, please contact an experienced Orlando divorce attorney today to discuss your legal options.
Three Common Grounds for an Annulment in Florida
- The marriage was unlawful: By definition, a marriage that was not valid under Florida law can be annulled. After all, an unlawful marriage never existed in the first place. This is true even if everyone believed that the marriage was fully valid. In Florida, some common reasons why a marriage may be ruled unlawful include bigamy (meaning one spouse was still married to another person the time of marriage), underaged parties, incest, or one party’s permanent lack of ability to consent.
- One or both spouses lacked capacity to marry: It is also possible to annul a marriage if one, or both, of the parties lacked the capacity to enter into a marriage. For example, if two people were heavily intoxicated and then suddenly got married, they may be able to seek an annulment the following day. It is important to recognize that annulment on these grounds is generally only available for a limited period of time.
- The marriage was the result of fraud: A marriage that occurs as a result of a fraudulent misrepresentation may also potentially be annulled. Similar to lack of capacity, a marriage that started on a fraudulent basis can eventually become legally valid if action is not taken.
Implications of an Annulment
Many people prefer annulment over divorce when the option is available. For some, this preference is purely for personal reasons. It may be due to the person’s religion or because of their aversion to the concept of divorce; regardless, an annulment can be beneficial for some people simply so that they can live in accordance with their own beliefs. Still, it is still important to understand the implications that an annulment could have on your family law rights and interests. If you have children, property to be divided or the potential for alimony, you need to speak to an experienced divorce attorney before going forward with an annulment.
Contact Our Orlando Office Today
At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., we have helped many people through difficult family law issues. If you are considering divorce or annulment in Central Florida, our team can help. Please do not hesitate call our office today at (407) 521-7171 for immediate legal assistance. Our firm proudly serves families throughout the Orlando area, including in Lake Buena Vista and Winter Park.