Annulment: When is it an Option?
Just like a divorce, a civil annulment ends a marriage. However, the effect of an annulment is that the law will not recognize the marriage as ever having existed.
It is not easy to get an annulment. Your marriage can only be annulled on certain grounds, such as:
- One spouse was not of sound mind at the commencement of the marriage and was thereby unable to give consent due to mental impairment or the influence of alcohol or drugs
- One spouse was forced into the marriage against his or her will, whether by threat of physical force or some form of extortion or coercion
- One spouse made fraudulent statements, without which the other spouse would not have agreed to marry that person
- One spouse had a physical impairment unknown to the other spouse that prevented the couple from being able to consummate the marriage
- The marriage itself was illegal and automatically invalid for reasons such as bigamy, one spouse being under the age of consent or the marriage being incestuous
Advantages and disadvantages of annulment
Before you consider seeking an annulment, it is important to consider the pros and cons of doing so.
In terms of advantages, the law will treat the marriage as though it never existed, which means you will not have to worry about issues such as property division. If children are involved, the court will still have to consider support and custody arrangements, as annulments do not affect whether children born during the marriage are considered legitimate.
The major disadvantage of an annulment is that proving you have the grounds for one can be difficult and expensive. You must be able to prove, without question, that one of the above grounds existed at the time of the wedding, which could take some significant investigation and court time. There are also time limits on annulments, meaning your opportunity may have passed.
To learn more about annulments and to explore your options for seeking one, speak with a knowledgeable Long Island divorce lawyer at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.