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Annulments in Florida: What You Need to Know

Many people think that divorce and annulment are the same. This is a misconception as they are quite different from each other. Although they are both ways in which a party can leave a marriage, a divorce ends an existing and valid marriage while an annulment declares that a marriage was never valid. A divorce is generally a less time-consuming and simpler process while the process of annulment is complex as a person must prove that the marriage is void and never existed.

Florida state law does not explicitly address the issue of annulments. Over the years, Florida courts have issued numerous judgments on matters relating to annulments and these have become judicial precedents in cases of annulment. These decisions by the courts constitute Florida’s annulment laws.

In this blog, you will learn about the challenges you might face while trying to annul your marriage in Florida and how a family law attorney in Florida can help you during the process.

Requirements for Getting an Annulment in Florida

A marriage can be annulled in Florida for being void or voidable. A void marriage is a marriage that was invalid from its beginning. A voidable marriage is a marriage that was not necessarily invalid from the beginning. A void or voidable marriage can be canceled by a competent court if contested by one of the parties. Some of the grounds for annulment in Florida are:
  • Bigamy:Bigamy is when a person marries someone while still married to another. Getting married to two people at the same time is illegal. Under these circumstances, a marriage can be annulled.
  • Inability to Consent:If a person lacked the mental capacity to consent to a marriage, then the marriage can be annulled. The reason for the inability can be alcohol, drugs, mental disability, or an illness resulting in mental confusion.
  • Fraud: A marriage can be voided and annulled if a spouse withheld certain facts that would have prevented the marriage in the first place.
  • Impotence:If one of the spouses knew that they are impotent and never disclosed it to the other spouse before getting married, the marriage can be annulled.
  • Underage Spouse:If one of the spouses was underage at the time of marriage, the marriage can be annulled.
  • Forced Marriage:A marriage can be annulled if one spouse was threatened, entered into it by duress, forced, or coerced by the other spouse.

How Annulments Work in Florida

The first step to getting an annulment in the state of Florida is to file the annulment papers in Florida’s circuit courts. The person initiating the annulment process must file and serve a petition in the court. This petition would explain the reasons behind the marriage being void or voidable.

If the other spouse does not agree with the claims in the petition, he/she has the right to file a counterclaim for dissolution of marriage. If the counterclaim is successful, the court grants a divorce instead of an annulment.

It doesn’t matter whether the marriage is void or voidable; the court makes decisions about child support and child custody. After the annulment, neither of the former spouses has the right to inherit the property of each other. Neither of them can claim each other’s insurance, retirement, or other benefits.

When both parties accept all the terms of the annulment and reach an agreement, a Final Decree of Annulment can be prepared. Both parties are required to sign the Decree of Annulment and submit it to the judge. To opt for a Decree of Annulment without hearing, the couple must fill the Request for Summary Disposition and an Affidavit in Support.

Benefits of an Annulment

The benefits of getting an annulment are:
  • No Division of Property is Required:If a person qualifies for annulment, no property division is required. This is because the courts assign the property and debts to whoever owned them before the marriage.
  • Invalidation of Prenuptial Agreement:A person getting an annulment can be released from the terms of the prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement only applies to people getting divorced or legally separated.
  • Declaration of No Legal Marriage:An annulment declares that the person was never legally married. It is contrastingly beneficial as compared to a divorce in which the marriage was legal and is dissolved after the completion of the divorce process.

Benefits of Hiring a Family Law Attorney to Help in the Annulment Process

There are a lot of benefits of hiring a family law attorney. One of them is that they have plenty of experience in matters relating to annulments. Also, keeping in mind the fact that the process of annulment involves various legal complications, you need someone by your side to address all the issues. Some of the benefits you will get when you employ the services of a family law attorney are:
  • You will receive legal and objective advice.
  • Your attorney will ensure your rights are protected.
  • There is a higher chance of a fairer settlement.
  • You will get the necessary guidance.
  • Your petition will be at a legal advantage.
  • Your attorney will get your case filed quickly.
  • Your attorney will help in making the whole court process hassle-free.
  • Your attorney will keep you updated with state and federal laws.
At Imudia Law, we have years of experience in representing clients in annulment cases. Our family law attorneys are ready to provide you with the requisite legal representation, promptly in Florida.