Some people speak about divorce and annulment in Florida as if they are synonymous, but they are not. While both divorces and annulments make a determination about marital status, there is a key difference:
A divorce ends a marriage that was valid in the eyes of the law. Conversely, an annulment declares that the marriage never even existed. The annulment voids the marriage because it was based on fraud or other criteria set forth by the court.
How do you get an annulment?
Annulments in Florida are very hard to get. Certain criteria must be met in order to have your marriage voided. Florida’s appellate courts have made determinations that constitute Florida’s annulment laws, and the criteria for annulment include:
- Bigamy – If your spouse was already married to another person, the marriage can be annulled, as it is illegal to be married to two people at the same time.
- Fraud – If facts were withheld from you that would have prevented you from marrying the person in the first place.
- Force – You cannot be threated into marriage by force, duress, or coercion.
- Underage spouse – If either party was underage and the minor’s parents did not grant consent.
- Lack of, or inability, to consent – If your mental capacity was reduced, either due to the influence of drugs or alcohol, a mental disability, or illness.
- Impotence – If one spouse knows they are impotent and did not disclose the information.
Annulments must go through the Florida courts. To request an annulment, you must file and serve a petition for annulment and lay out your argument for why you believe your marriage is void. It can be a lengthy, complex, and costly process, which is why it’s important to have an experienced family law lawyer at your side.
Also important to remember is that, unlike a divorce, at the end of an annulment there will be no division of marital property or issuance of spousal support as the marriage is considered to have never existed.
If you have questions about annulments, divorce, or other family law concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group right away. We offer confidential case evaluations to discuss your specific situation.