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How Do I File for an Annulment in California?

If you are looking to end your marriage in the state of California, you have three legal options to consider. You could get a legal separation, which allows you and your spouse to live separately yet remain legally married. There is the option of divorce, or dissolution of marriage, for which you must claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no hope of reconciliation. The third option is annulment, which is not offered in every state. In California, filing for an annulment is your way of saying that you believe a valid marriage never existed to begin with. In order to file for an annulment in California, you must file in the county in which you live. If you are filing for the annulment of a domestic partnership, then you are not required to live in the state of California in order to file.

How to File for Annulment in California

The annulment process is similar to divorce and separation, in that you must fill out the same legal forms, though you must file to annul the marriage and not dissolve it. Before a court can annul a marriage, the couple must first prove that the marriage isn’t valid.

If the court does not find that you meet the legal requirements for an annulment, then you may have to file a divorce petition separately. If you do succeed in your case and the court agrees to annul the marriage, then it will be as though the marriage never happened.

Valid Reasons for an Annulment

In order for the court to grant an annulment, you must be able to prove one of the following:

  • The marriage was incestuous (the two people were blood related)
  • The marriage was bigamous (one spouse was already married to another person)
  • The marriage was formed when one spouse was not yet 18 years old
  • One spouse has an existing marriage or domestic partnership (when the former spouse was missing for 5 years or thought to be dead)
  • One spouse was not of sound mind at the time the marriage was formed
  • The marriage was formed on fraudulent grounds (ex: in order to obtain a green card)
  • The marriage was not of mutual consent, rather it was forced
  • One spouse does not have the physical capacity to consummate the marriage and their condition seems to be incurable

When it comes to annulment cases, the court does not look at how long you have been married or in a domestic partnership and the court does not consider "irreconcilable differences" as grounds for an annulment. Proving a valid reason for an annulment can be extremely difficult. That is why you should consult with an experienced Culver City annulment attorney to assist you in proving your case. Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations when it comes to filing for an annulment. With divorce and legal separation cases, you can file them at any time. However, with annulment you do have deadline and that time limit will depend on the reason why you are requesting the annulment.

Need an attorney for annulment in Culver City? Here at Widger & Widger, APLC our family law attorneys have more than 18 years of collective experience. We are 100% committed to our clients and we will be there for you for better or worse. Our legal team has extensive experience with annulment cases and we can work to obtain the courts approval. Contact a Culver City annulment lawyer from our firm today to schedule a free initial consultation!