Short Hills Marriage Annulment Lawyer
While annulments of marriage are relatively rare today, the procedure is available to those who can show legal grounds. The legal theory of an annulment is that the marriage was not valid to begin with, meaning that, under the law, the marriage never existed. It is important to note that a civil annulment, which is a legal nullification of the marriage, is different than an annulment which is granted by a church or clergy (which has no legal effect on your marital status). As a family law attorney can explain, the legal grounds for an annulment. Some of these include:
- One or both spouses were intoxicated at the time of the marriage.
- There has been violence or physical abuse in the marriage.
- One or both spouses had a mental condition at the time of the marriage which prevented them from fully comprehending the marriage.
- One spouse engaged in fraud or lies to induce the other to marry, including:
- Lying about the desire or lack of desire to have children;
- One spouse is an illegal immigrant who marries solely to stay in the U.S., but does not tell his or her spouse this is the reason for the marriage;
- Misrepresenting the ability to have children;
- Lying about an addiction to drugs or alcohol;
- Misrepresenting religious beliefs, when those beliefs were a basis for the marriage, or
- Failure by a woman to tell her intended spouse she was pregnant by another man at the time of the marriage.
- One or both spouses were under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage, and since turning 18 there have been no sexual relations.
- The marriage was the result of severe threats or duress, i.e. the threat of serious violence caused the marriage.
- The marriage is not legal due to a familial relationship between the spouses (incest).
- One spouse was married to someone else at the time (the non-married spouse must have been unaware of the other’s existing marriage at the time of the new marriage).
- There is incurable impotence of a spouse at the time of the marriage, or one spouse refuses to consummate the marriage.
This way of ending a marriage generally occurs when the spouses were together for a short duration, therefore there are few if any, marital assets and/or debts. Since the annulment treats the marriage as though it never existed, there is rarely a division of marital assets. However, under state law, the courts may award custody born of an annulled marriage, and may even award alimony payments. Our Short Hills marriage annulment lawyers could help you through this process and deal with any legal challenges that arise.
Requirements for an Annulment in Short Hills
Should you decide you have grounds to nullify your marriage, the following requirements must be met:
- At least one spouse must be a New Jersey resident.
- A “Complaint for Annulment” will be required.
- The Complaint for Annulment will include information about all aspects of your marriage as well as your grounds for nullifying a marriage.
- The spouse filing the Complaint must have the other served with the petition.
- If the spouse served is in agreement with the nullification of their marriage, there will be no hearing, rather the judge will enter a decree of annulment.
- If the spouse served does not agree with voiding their marriage, a hearing will be held in which both spouses will be required to testify and present evidence.
- If the judge agrees to the annulment, you will receive a Judgment of Nullity.
If your marriage is annulled by the judge, it is immediately considered void—as though you were never married—although if there were children, the children will still be considered legitimate unless it can be proven that another man is the father. Regarding distribution of property, generally speaking, those assets titled in either spouse’s name remain theirs, and property held jointly is equally divided. Our Short Hills attorneys could assess the grounds of your marriage and determine if you are eligible for an annulment.
Why Void a Marriage Rather Than Divorce?
Many might wonder why a marriage would be annulled, as opposed to a divorce. While both an annulment and a divorce end a marriage, this process effectively reverses the marriage, making it as though it never existed. One might choose an annulment rather than a divorce for social, financial or religious reasons. An annulled marriage might not carry the same social stigma as a divorce, and, financially speaking, courts are much less likely to award alimony in an annulled marriage than in a divorce. Probably the most prevalent reason people seek to nullify their marriage rather than a divorce is religious beliefs. While some religions definitely frown on divorce, they may be more accepting of this way of ending a marriage.
Retain Our Short Hills Marriage Annulment Attorneys
At the Williams Law Group, our Short Hills marriage annulment lawyers understand all of the legal nuances of this process and could decide if your marriage is void in the state of New Jersey. Our attorneys could help nullify your marriage in the quickest, most efficient manner. If you require legal assistance through this process, contact the Williams Law Group today—our highly experienced attorneys can help you understand the outcome of an annulment so you are totally prepared.