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How Do Annulments Work in California?


If you live in California and are looking to have your marriage annulled, you may be wondering how the process works. An annulment is a legal way to invalidate a marriage, and in California, an annulment can only be granted if you meet specific criteria.

The requirements to be eligible for an annulment generally involve lack of consent due to coercive behavior or fraud. For example, situations in which prior marriages were not dissolved or if one partner was underage and, therefore, unable to grant legal consent. Other examples of instances where an annulment might be available include situations in which force, physical incapacity, insanity, or mental illness caused the marriage.

Keep reading to learn more about how annulments work in California and whether you are eligible for one.

What Are the Criteria to Eligible for an Annulment in California?

To be eligible to file for an annulment in California, a married couple must meet one of the provided criteria:

  • The marriage was never consummated – If a marriage is never consummated, it can leave both parties in a difficult situation, with one half of the couple feeling unfulfilled and the other feeling a sense of pressure. Complex emotions and misunderstandings are often at play in situations like this, which can lead to the couple not being able to move forward together, even if they pursue couples therapy. If you can prove your marriage was never consummated, your marriage may be eligible for annulment.
  • One party was underage at the time of marriage – Unfortunately, marriages where one or both spouses are underage at the time of their nuptials still occur. In most cases, these types of marriages are illegal and eligible to be annulled.
  • One party was forced into the marriage against their will – Marriage is a sacred agreement and should be decided freely by both parties involved. Unfortunately, such is not the case when one party is being forced into it against their will. It is illegal to force someone into marriage. If it can be proven, this type of marriage is eligible for annulment.
  • The marriage is incestuous or bigamous – Marriage is a legal union between two individuals that is accepted by society. Unfortunately, some marriages may be considered incestuous or bigamous due to the people involved in the union. An incestuous marriage can involve two individuals who are too closely related to each other and should not be legally wedded based on family ties, while a bigamous relationship occurs when an individual is already married to one person but takes on another partner without ending their marriage with their initial spouse. Incestuous and bigamous marriages are not recognized by law and are generally eligible for annulment.

My Marriage Is Eligible for Annulment. What’s Next?

If your marriage meets the criteria for an annulment, the only thing standing between you and having your marriage invalidated is the court. Granting an annulment is a serious step for the court to take, requiring careful and thorough consideration of all related evidence.

The court will spend time examining each piece of evidence before arriving at its decision. All testimony from both parties will be weighed to ensure fairness and accuracy. Additionally, any documents submitted as part of the proceedings must be considered carefully before the court makes its determination.

After the court has thoroughly examined all the evidence and heard all the testimony, it will decide whether to grant your annulment.

The Court Granted My Annulment. Now What?

Once an annulment is granted, its effects are far-reaching. Legally speaking, the marriage is treated as if it never existed – contracts and legal obligations involving the two parties involved in the annulled marriage are disregarded and any descendants resulting from the union are legally considered illegitimate.

Annulments can also have a strong emotional impact on those involved, allowing them to obtain closure and potentially begin a new chapter of their lives.

Call Arnold Law Group, APC at (559) 900-1263 or reach out to us online today to schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced family law attorneys in Fresno.

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