Another Way To Terminate A Marriage
Divorce is not the only way to legally end a marriage. In select situations, you may be able to pursue an annulment as an alternative measure. In cases that an annulment is granted, a court deems that a marriage is invalid under the law. While courts in Florida frequently grant divorces, annulments are far less common.
Many states in the U.S. have legal provisions for annulment written into family law statutes, but Florida is not one of them. While this action for terminating a marriage is not covered, however, annulments may be granted in situations in which extraordinary circumstances lead a judge to determine that a marriage is void or voidable under the law.
Is An Annulment Available To You?
It can be very difficult to be granted an annulment in the state of Florida. Basically it must be deemed that a marriage was illegal or may now be determined illegal based on another's fraudulent behavior.
Situations in which a court has granted annulments include:
- When a person has committed bigamy, or entered into a marriage despite already being married to another person (or other people)
- If one of the people entering into a marriage is mentally incapacitated
- When a marriage is entered into while in a state of great duress, such as under the threat of harm
- If a person is heavily intoxicated by alcohol or drugs at the time of a marriage
- When it is discovered that a married pair are related by blood
- If one of the people entering into a marriage is impotent, but does not reveal this until after a marriage
- When one person makes fraudulent statements so as to get another person to concede to a marriage
- If one of the people involved is a minor who does not have parental consent or court approval to enter into a marriage
- When acceptance of marriage vows are accepted only as a joke with no true intention of getting married
While these are potential reasons an annulment may be granted by a court, meeting the legal requirement to secure this arrangement remains difficult. Whether or not a marriage has been physically consummated may also be an important factor in select situations.
Seeking An Annulment
Because Florida marriage laws do not address annulments, judges must rely on case law to make determinations about annulment requests. Based on the limitation of this legal approach, annulments are infrequently granted when compared to divorces.
If you are interested in obtaining an annulment, or to contest a legal union, it is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer. These cases can be very complex and difficult to win. In the case an annulment is not realistic, a lawyer can inform you on how to get a divorce and how long a divorce takes.