When two people decide to separate, divorce seems like the only option. However, a marriage annulment may be a feasible alternative. Although these two proceedings end a marriage, an annulment declares the union never existed in the eyes of the law.
Each state has different rules regarding a marriage’s qualifications. Even though it may be challenging, Florida has established precedents that make it possible for certain couples to complete the marriage annulment process.
What are Grounds for Marriage Annulment in Florida?
In Florida, both “void” and “voidable” marriages can be annulled. A void marriage was invalid from the beginning, but the avoidable marriage was not considered invalid at the onset. Legal grounds for annulment include:
- One spouse is legally married to multiple individuals, or the couple is closely related.
- The partners are underage or of the same sex.
- One spouse suffers from permanent or temporary mental issues and was not able to consent to the union, or one of the spouses was intoxicated during the marriage ceremony.
- One spouse tricked the other spouse into the union. This fraudulent act must be detrimental to the marriage. For instance, if one partner had no intent to live as a married couple, it is grounds for an annulment.
- One spouse or both parties were coerced into the marriage.
- One partner is impotent and never told the other spouse.
- One or both partners entered the marriage as a joke.
In the state of Florida, voidable fraudulent marriages may be ratified if they are consummated after the issues are revealed. For instance, if one partner is drunk during the ceremony but has sexual relations after becoming sober, the union does not qualify for an annulment. In other words, the state feels the “wronged” party waives his or her right to complain if he or she is willing to engage in a sexual relationship.
How to Get a Marriage Annulment
A court order is required for a marriage annulment. These proceedings are governed by the state’s family law rules of procedures, so papers must be filed in the circuit courts of Florida. To begin, it is necessary to file an annulment petition, which explains why the marriage is void or voidable. If the other spouse does not agree with the petition, he or she may issue a counterclaim. If this counterclaim prevails, an annulment will not be granted. Since all Florida marriages are viewed as legal and valid, a person who wants an annulment is faced with a large burden of proof and must have strong evidence backing his or her case.
Consult with Cheshire Family Law
It is your choice to pursue a divorce or a marriage annulment. To learn more about the differences and to uncover the best course of action for ending your marriage, it is best to speak with a qualified attorney. At Cheshire Family Law, we explain all your rights and discuss all related matters, including custody and alimony. To schedule a consultation, call (561) 677-8090.