An annulment is often misunderstood or used interchangeable with divorce; however, the two are very different. An annulment declares a marriage void, meaning it never happened whereas a divorce ends an existing marriage. An annulment can be granted if the marriage was not legal, if you were forced to marry your spouse, or if you were not old enough to marry your spouse. Today, we discuss how to get an annulment in California.
What Is an Annulment?
An annulment cancels a marriage. It declares that the marriage never existed and was never valid.
How to File for an Annulment
If you are married and live in California, you will file your annulment in the state. There is no residency requirement to file an annulment.
Here are the steps to get an annulment:
- Seek the advice of an experienced lawyer
- Complete your court forms
- Write a declaration which will contain information about why you are requesting an annulment
- Make copies of your forms as you will need to serve your spouse
- File your forms with the court clerk
- Serve your spouse the paperwork
- File your proof of service
- Wait for your spouse to respond (he/she has 30 days to respond)
- Ask for a court hearing
- The judge will decide if an annulment should be granted
Reasons for an Annulment
You can request an annulment under the following circumstances:
- Marriage happened when one spouse was under duress
- Spouses are related by blood
- One or both spouses are underage (under 18 years old)
The spouse wishing to obtain the annulment must have burden of proof to show the judge he/she has a valid reason to annul the marriage.
Statute of Limitations
There is a certain statute of limitations in California when it comes to filing for an annulment. These are as follows:
- If you are filing due to fraud, you have within 4 years to do so once you discover the fraudulent act
- If you are filing due to being underage, you have within 4 years after you turn 18 to file
- If you are filing due to bigamy, you can file for an annulment at any time if the spouse from the first marriage is still alive
- If you are filing due to duress or forced consent, you have within 4 years of being married to file
- If you are filing due to having an unsound mind, you can file at any time before you or your spouse die
- If you are filing due to impotence, you must do so within 4 years of getting married
Contact our office online or call (916) 512-8944 to learn more about our annulment services.